The unemployment rate in our country has reached a 30-year high of 9.7%. According to the United States Department of Laborâ€™s Bureau of Statistics, Pennsylvania has reached a rate of 8.5% and New Jersey has actually hovered just below the national average at 9.6%. With the Atlantic City casino industry not thriving the way it used to, local citizens in the Philadelphia and South Jersey areas have been victimized by mass casino layoffs and have felt the sting of a faltering U.S. economy.
The unemployment rate in our country has reached a 30-year high of 9.7%. According to the United States Department of Laborâ€™s Bureau of Statistics, Pennsylvania has reached a rate of 8.5% and New Jersey has actually hovered just below the national average at 9.6%. With the Atlantic City casino industry not thriving the way it used to, local citizens in the Philadelphia and South Jersey areas have been victimized by mass casino layoffs and have felt the sting of a faltering U.S. economy. While politicians and lobbyists spew out countless hours at meetings trying to alleviate the problem, a quick and substantial answer lies right in front of them: to legalize sports gambling.
Information gathered by the Floor State of Legislature 2005 cited sports gambling as a $420 BILLION per year industry. Whether this form of gaming is done legally in Las Vegas or on Off Shore betting accounts or the more traditional way with a bookie, people are going to gamble. Whether anyone cares to admit it or not, sports gambling has brought the NFL to new heights it may have never seen without â€œActionâ€ on games. While people have moral dilemmas with the legalization of sports gambling, the facts indicate there is a desperate need for the legalization of this entity.
There can be no greater indication of the need for sports gambling than within Atlantic City which is Philadelphiaâ€™s neighbor lying only 60 miles away. Atlantic City was once dubbed the title â€œThe Worldâ€™s Playgroundâ€ but due to an increase in crime, political corruption and lack of discretionary spending amongst its residents and tourists, Atlantic City has fallen on hard times. Many of the casino workers live in the Philadelphia and Atlantic City area and have raised their families from the income generated from their jobs but sadly just as the Sand Dunes that protect the Hilton Casino had filtered away into dust, the pool of money has also begun to dry up. The answer to all of these economic concerns lies within sports gambling.
Currently, Atlantic Cityâ€™s largest Labor Union Local 54 is in contract negotiations with the casino industry. The workers are looking to maintain their benefit packages and the casinos are looking at their bottom line. Local 54 is heavily populated with workers in the Philadelphia and Atlantic City area and amongst the unions concerns are maintain strong jobs for its membership and growing their union. Sports gambling is the solution to the needs of all involved for both the union and the casinos.
If sports gambling is legalized in New Jersey, jobs will be created and Atlantic City could copy the â€œPlaybookâ€ of Las Vegas which has sports books at all of their casinoâ€™s which makes an enormous amount of jobs for their labor force and enhances the bottom line and stock portfolios of their gaming houses which according to the California State Republican Caucus meeting in 2007 stated that Las Vegas legally generated $2.16 Billion in 2006. New Jersey could generate the same kind of revenue if a sports gambling bill is passed.
If a state such as New Jersey would allow sports gambling, the first step in the process would be a $200,000 licensing fee which would cost an annual fee of $100,000 to renew. With 11 casinos in place in Atlantic City, that would equate to $2.2 million in licensing fees which would allow the casino industry to bet on them themselves. This money alone could be used for social security benefits and an increase in the hiring of teachers which would provide indirect jobs for the residents of South Jersey and Philadelphia. Thatâ€™s the good news, here comes the great news: The casinos would thrive with the new outlets and would be forced to hire more employees which would be a direct incentive for both laborer and corporate America alike. With so many positives, one has to wonder why would anyone be against the sports gambling? The answer lies in potential corruption.
Perhaps the biggest stopgap to sports gambling in NJ is former 3-time Democratic Senator Bill Bradley. Bradley is a historic political and sports figure having not only served successfully for 3-terms but also is a Hall of Fame Basketball player and a Rhodes Scholar. There is no question about it, Bill Bradley has tasted success on many levels and he is an intelligent man but he is also who always goes by the book. In this situation, one book tells us what is right and what is wrong and another book tells us what is really wrong. That other book is called the checkbook and our citizens need new jobs.
One thing Bill Bradley and so many other churches and politicians are missing is that all of their steadfast desire to keep sports gambling illegal is only creating ore of a craze for people to gamble. By saying sports gambling is wrong, we are saying that bookies are right. The line is we donâ€™t just want sports gambling, weâ€™ve grown to the point where we need it.
Next week weâ€™ll discuss the arguments against sports gambling, the legal impact and weâ€™ll follow up with a final argument for the legalization of the entity and let you make the call. For today, weâ€™ll leave you with this question: If legalizing sports gambling is truly a question of morality, is it not immoral to keep people out of work?