Oct 3, 2018 in History

Casino gambling in the United States dates back to 1978 with the first casino established at the Atlantic City (Blackwood 18). The city transformation was not smooth as it encountered various challenges from authorities who deemed gambling as being illegal. The status has changed, and today “the Atlantic City” reaps billions of dollars in wages yearly from gambling.  Thereafter, land-based casinos were opened in New Jersey and Nevada while riverboats casinos came up in Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois. In the United States, gambling is associated with Las Vegas. However, riverboat casinos, according to Rephann et al, are limited by operating conditions and space (5). Initially, the city seen as a capital for gambling had a tainted image and many people were so wary of making visits to Las Vegas. However, the situation has been changing over time due to a change in the ownership and management of casinos. Currently, there is corporate ownership of casinos and they have been designed, and themed in ways seeming to attract families to visit. Consequently, this has given Las Vegas, as well as other cities with casinos a clean image. People currently view casinos as entertainment spots where revelers go to have fun. Given this, casinos are starting to emerge almost everywhere in many countries worldwide. Started only with a single activity, gambling has grown to include various activities like lotteries, bingo, and pari-mutuel racing (ibid 2).

For a long time, gambling was only legal in the U.S state of Nevada. However, this situation changed later when the City of New Jersey legalized gambling in the late 1970s (Blackwood 16). Only two states in the United States, Utah and Hawaii are yet to legalize gambling (Blackwood 17). Nevertheless, the biggest casino on the planet currently is the Foxwoods in Hartford, Connecticut (ibid 24). Additionally, it is thus evident to say that casino gaming has experienced a rapid growth in the United States. Many Native American tribes see casino establishment as a way of enhancing their economic independence. A typical example of a Native tribe here is the American Indians who have benefitted so much from casino gambling (Daily Mail Reporter). For instance, the New York Times reported that each adult from American Indians do receive $84,000 monthly from gambling.

The legalization of the activity in many states has gone a long way in contributing to the rapid growth. Moreover, this trend is expected to continue (Rephann et al. 2). In a study conducted in the United States in 2005, there are over 319 million visits. This is about seven times more than what was witnessed in the early 1990s. It is even reported that more people visited casinos than those who attended major league baseball games. Additionally, casino gambling is popular among the older and affluent people in society (Rephann et al. 4). This is evident especially in Minnesota where many casino goers are the wealth Indians.   

How do people get to participate/join in the activity/organization?

People engage in gambling either by physically visiting casinos or doing gambling online. Over years, the Internet has offered a platform for the growth of gambling worldwide. This gives people the luxury to enjoy gambling within the comfort of their homes.  According to Barbieri in an article in the Guardian titled “My son is addicted to gambling” states that people gamble due to a number of reasons. First, there is an adrenaline buzz that elicits a high level of brain activity leading to the release of serotonin and dopamine. These two hormones are responsible for the actions people take; gambling included. Secondly, Barbieri states that other people resort to gambling due to their love for risk taking adventures. Lastly, others just engage in gambling to see how lucky they are when it comes to winning. A typical case given here is a boy who wanted to gamble so that he can elevate himself out of feelings of inadequacy. The boy believed that in order to elevate himself, he needed to win large amounts of money through gambling. This is a major addiction with gambling as it is associated with winning large amounts of money. Writing in the Bloomberg Businessweek, Winter states that GamblingCompliance estimates that the U.S. online gambling is valued at $6 billion. 

The gambling problem starts when one becomes addicted to the game. Addiction results into loss of billions of dollars as people find it hard to stop gambling once they start. Jones in a Mail Online article titled “I spent my children's inheritance in the casino. Gambling addict admits to wasting over £150,000 on slot machines and roulette” stated that about 500,000 Britons admitted of having a gambling problem in 2012.  However, the increase in gambling addiction numbers, in the UK, is due to the Labour Party’s decision to relax laws on gambling. Jones, in the article, reported a story of Phyllis Sofocleous who lost over £150,000 due to her gambling addiction. The money was part of her children’s inheritance. In gambling, people become addicted each time they visit a casino due to an adrenalin rush that keeps urging them to do it again and again.  Furthermore, Winter reported that Micheal Hajduk lost about $20,000 after the U.S government started a cracked down the country’s online gambling market on April 5, 2011. During the crackdown, 11 people were indicted and later charged for illegal gambling, bank fraud and money laundering. Many Americans had their accounts frozen, hence their inability to access their funds. 

Given the high gambling addiction rates, the Canadian province of Ontario, with 27 government casinos, came up with a policy aimed at reducing addiction. In the policy, the government intended to ban addicts from entering casinos. This was through having a photograph list of all addicts distributed in all casinos, in the province. Thereafter, workers in casinos would them evict addicts found in the casinos. According to Vance, writing in the Bloomberg BusinessWeek, reported that lawmakers viewed this policy as a more friendly option in dealing with gambling addiction. However, this mechanism did not work as it was difficult for casino workers to identify the faces of the addicts using the photographs provided. Additionally, some gamblers who were not recognized ended up filing suits against the government for failing in its banning responsibilities. The government ended up losing millions of dollars due to the increased number of lawsuits.

In the state of Ohio, the House of Representatives passed to ban Internet café gambling. Reporting in the Dayton Daily News, Borchardt stated that the Fraternal Order of Police and other agencies involved in law enforcement were then ordered to help in the crackdown. The crackdown, aimed at supporting the bill, was to be carried out on all establishments involved in illegal gambling. Additionally, the Ohio law prohibits any form of gambling, other than at four casinos as designated in the Ohio Constitution. In Ohio, the law only allows lotteries through sweepstakes, but cyber cafes are not allowed to award prizes more than $10. In the United States, the past decade saw the expanded legalization of gambling. This included the regulation of casino-style games, as well as lotteries in most states. This resulted into an explosion in the opening up of Native American casinos (Humphrey). Furthermore, gambling and online betting increased. 

Despite casino gambling being associated with addiction problems, it has economic effects. A typical example is in the state of Minnesota. Here, the state having 13 tribal casinos ranks number nineteen nationally in terms of income at its disposal (Rephann et al 3). This is due to its strategic location between Nevada, New Jersey and Las Vegas. Apart from casino gambling being responsible for increased incomes in a state, it also stimulates economic growth of states through job creation, increasing the property values in proximity areas, as well as a reduction of the public assistance costs. In the long term, casino gambling helps in upgrading the local tourist industry, offers a source of development capital within areas casinos are located and stimulates job training. To a given state, the increased disposable income generates additional tax revenue that helps in meeting a community’s infrastructure development needs. Compared to other tourism sectors, casino gambling seems to be preferred as it offers high-paying and full-time jobs while causing minimal environmental damage (Rephann et al 4).

In order for one to develop a problem of casino gambling, the important elements involved include the psychological, environmental and social events are vital. Thus, studies to show that learning plays a critical role in one developing casino gambling behavior. Additionally, according to Korhonen (2004), people just learn to gamble from friends, as is the case of Phyllis Sofocleous (Jones). Moreover, consequences of gambling do shape people. For instance, if one realizes that gambling is having negative impacts on their job or relations with the rest of the society, chances are that they would change such behavior. This is essential for them to fit in the larger society. This is typical of Phyllis Sofocleous who looks for excuses to hide her addiction from family members. “I went once a week, then twice a week, three times ... soon I was going every night and lying to my family about where I was, pretending to work overtime” (Jones).

In this study, the consequences being referred here in the theory are the implications that casino gambling has on one’s social life. Over time, gambling becomes a habit thus increasing the effects on issues of addiction. The more one engages in casino gambling, the more the effects are felt in terms of their relationship with people on the large society. For instance, more money will be spent on casino gambling at the expense of family needs and participation in community development. Compulsive gamblers are unable to control their gambling activities. Such would engage in gambling even if the activity hurts themselves, or their loved ones in society. Moreover, people addicted to gambling will only think about it, and that is what they would want to engage in, no matter the circumstances they are under. For instance, compulsive gamblers would not stop gambling even if they are broke or depressed. As such, they seem to care less about the consequences of gambling (Barbieri).

On the other hand, there are cognitive factors that are essential when it comes to social learning in a society. One such a factor, according to Bandura is learning without performance. Here, there is a clear distinction between being able to learn through observation, and imitating whatever has been learned through observation. The second factor is the cognitive processing involved in learning. Thus, social scientists say that in order for one to learn, they need to be attentive. Lastly, through learning, there occurs an influence between the environment and the person.

Are there "promotions" in the activity/organization where a member can move up the organizational ladder?

In gambling, promotions occur as a way of attracting new members to gamble within the said casinos. In the Hollywood Casino, Columbus Ohio, there are numerous promotions carried out by the management to increase gambling membership. For instance, in the current promotions, in Hollywood Casino Columbus, there is an on-going promotion dubbed “$100,000 Cabin Fever Cure Giveaway” that runs between March 1 to March 30, 2013. By playing, gamblers win a dream vacation. However, new members need to play using their Marquee Rewards card in order to earn entries that position them to win. A draw for the promotion is to be held on March 30, 2013 with ten gamblers members winning a cruise to Mexico. Additionally, ten more gamblers are to win a trip each to visit the M Resort & and Spa, located in Las Vegas (Hollywood Casino). Another promotion dubbed the “Hollywood Legends: Members 55+”. Here, members above 55 years are entitled to receive $5 Free Slot Play, as well as a 50% off at the Epic Buffet. The promotion runs every Tuesday from 11am-3pm and 4pm-9pm. This offers Marquee Rewards members an opportunity to win through the promotion. Furthermore, new members do have an opportunity to play and win through a promotion dubbed “$5-$1,000 Free Play for New INClub Members!” Many of these promotions are advertised on the casino’s websites.

Membership

On the contrary, many casinos in Ohio, including Hollywood Columbus, do offer little information on the kind of membership categories whatsoever. What is evident is that they use promotions as a way of attracting more members to gamble in their casino. From the way they offer their promotions, it is clear that there are classes of memberships, though not clearly defined. What is clear, nevertheless, is that membership is through members signing up with the casino. Registration of members is online. As such, membership is through signing up through the creation of a member’s account. After a member signs up, they can then login and play whatever games are on offer. Membership is dependent of the duration since signing up through the creation of an account.  Through online application with the casino, members agree to the terms and conditions as provided by the casino. Registered members can then leave and terminate their engagement with the casino through deactivation of their accounts. However, members who leave lose a percentage of their earnings to the casino (Hollywood casino).

Conclusion

Casino gambling has grown steadily over the last decade. The involvement of corporates in the ownership and management of casinos have drastically improved the image of the gambling industry. Currently, they are viewed as entertainment spots for fun where families can freely enjoy. Despite the formulation of laws to regulate gambling, the problem of addiction is still a major one hence giving gambling a negative image. People have lost millions of dollars in gambling, as well as breakdown of families as members spend more time in casinos at the expense of their families. However, in places where gambling has been well regulated, there has been the realization of economic benefits. This is evident in the United States where the state of Minnesota has greatly benefitted from regulated gambling.

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