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Increases in the bankruptcy rate during the past decade along with growth of the gaming industry have led some critics of the industry to raise questions about a possible link between the two.
Recent government studies, as well as national statistics, have disproved their theories.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury investigated this issue at the request of the U.S. Congress and released a report in July 1999 finding 'no connection between state bankruptcy rates and either the extent of or introduction of casino gambling.' In preparing its analysis, the Treasury Department examined existing literature on gambling and bankruptcy and conducted new empirical research. According to the study: 'Much of the earlier increase in the national bankruptcy rate has been attributed to the changes in the bankruptcy law of 1978. Other economic and social factors cited by researchers as contributing to more recent increases include higher levels of debt relative to income, increasing availability of consumer credit through general purpose credit cards and the reduced social stigma of declaring bankruptcy.'

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) found similar results in a study completed in 1999 for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. The NORC study reported that instances of bankruptcies were no greater in communities with casinos than in communities that don't have casinos.

It was claimed that the 298 U.S. counties which have legalized gambling within their borders had a 1996 bankruptcy filing rate 18% higher than the filings in counties with no gambling. And that the bankruptcy rate was 35% higher than the average in counties with five or more gambling establishments (SMR Research). The National Gambling Impact Study Commission found: "…the casino effect is not statistically significant for…bankruptcy…" (NORC).

A 1996 USA Today survey of 522 bankruptcy filers found that 63 percent cited credit card bills and 50 percent cited job loss or pay cuts as the main reason for bankruptcy. Only 2 percent cited gambling as a major factor.

National statistics and other facts also fly in the face of critics' contentions suggesting a link between gambling and bankruptcy:

The majority of states with the highest bankruptcy rates are those with no casino gaming.
Of the top 10 states with the largest growth in bankruptcy filings, only Mississippi has casino gaming, a state that historically has been economically depressed - likely a higher predictor of bankruptcy than a nearby casino.
Of the 24 counties in the United States with the highest bankruptcy filing rates, none have casino gaming.







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