An anti-gambling group says the gambling industry is taking advantage of technology to target young people and generate more income.
Pennsylvania is struggling to generate more revenue to boost its struggling financial situation, so Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill authorizing a substantial expansion of gambling in what had already been a leading gambling state.
"This is a huge rip-off of the people of Pennsylvania," says Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling. "When we talk about how to improve the economic standing of everyday Americans, predatory gambling and the role of casinos really undermine [that] effort. It leaves people in poverty and it sticks the bill to all those folks who never gamble."
The law permits online gambling for commercial casinos and the state lottery – and, according to Bernal, it has a specific purpose in mind: "They're essentially opening a casino in every home, on every computer tablet, every laptop, every smartphone, and every dorm room in the state of Pennsylvania – 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
He blasts the gambling industry for using modern technology that's already in the hands of many young people in order to attract newer and younger players to waste their money.
Bernal offers a simple key to halting gambling expansion: people need to shift priorities and make it an issue just as important as others, he says – and then join the battle against it.