Gambling and Homelessness
The relationship of gambling to homelessness is a critical one, which deserve serious attention as Philadelphia and other cities continue to promote casinos as a way to raise revenue. This article by Paul Davies in The Philly Post does a fine job of exploring the issues.
Several years ago, when the casinos were first being developed in Philadelphia, Project HOME developed a statement of opposition, which is worth revisiting. Please feel free to add your own thoughts and perspectives.
Why We Oppose Casinos in Philadelphia (2007)
Project HOME is opposed to the development of slots casinos in Philadelphia. We are convinced that the proposed casinos will have an overall negative impact on the lives of many Philadelphians and their families and on the City of Philadelphia as a whole.
Numerous studies show that the expansion of gambling opportunities leads to significant increases in the number of persons with serious gambling addictions. With increased addictions come greater financial stresses and crises for individuals and families. Studies also make it clear that the negative economic impact of gambling is most severe for low-income persons and communities. In one study, between 18 and 33 percent of people who were homeless cited gambling addictions as a contributing factor or cause of their homelessness (National Gambling Impact Study Commission based on surveys in Atlantic City).
We believe that opening the two proposed casinos in Philadelphia will inevitably create more addictions, poverty, and homelessness in our city. While there are economic benefits associated with the development of the casinos, the costs are greater. Many Philadelphians, particularly our poorest and most vulnerable citizens, will suffer.
We support Casino-Free Philadelphia and other community groups who are actively opposing the casinos. In the event that casinos are opened, we believe the casino operators have a responsibility to respond to the social crises which they will aggravate.
We believe the casinos, if opened, should allocate a portion of their profits to fund new resources for treatment of serious addictions and new units of supportive housing for persons who find themselves homeless.
We also believe that the City and State governments should work to ensure that the economic benefit from proposed casinos be fairly shared, especially with low-income communities who are in desperate need of affordable housing and economic opportunities.
If the casinos are opened, Project HOME will join with community groups to advocate for casinos to allocate profits for treatment, housing, and jobs. Either way, we remain committed to the idea that working to end homelessness and poverty enhances the quality of life for everyone in our community.