United States Gambling Research Institute
245 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
About the Institute
The United States Gambling Research Institute (USGRI) is a national center where public officials, community leaders, members of the press, and private citizens can turn for critically needed and objective information about the effects of legalized gambling. The Institute’s primary role is to focus on the social and economic consequences of such activities to communities. The USGRI is a non-profit organization which will do the following when it is fully operational later this year:
* Work with public and private groups to evaluate the social, economic and political implications of specific gambling proposals in their communities.
* Share information, experience and strategies with communities nationwide.
* Provide the media with a source of information that has no financial connection to the gambling industry.
* Conduct original research and evaluate the work of other researchers.
* Examine the impact that gambling has on the political process by looking at campaign contributions, lobbying and the role of gambling revenues on public budgets.
* Contribute to and monitor the progress of local, state and federal research efforts related to legalized gambling.
* Sponsor workshops and conferences for public officials and community leaders.
* Maintain a World Wide Web site on the Internet with news about gambling and communities wrestling with the issue, as well as issuing timely press releases.
Why the USGRI?
In city after city and state after state, we have seen that communities without adequate information have often accepted gambling only to find themselves unhappily surprised later.
The millions spent by gambling promoters, particularly in the casino business, to sell new forms of gambling inevitably far outstrips the resources available to those who propose careful deliberation and analysis of costs. The Institute hopes to help level this playing field by providing the kind of information that communities need to make the best decisions for their future.
Along with the revenues that accompany new gambling ventures, many communities find they also must live with major new economic and social costs. Casinos siphon away consumer dollars from other local businesses. Problem gambling can rise dramatically and, with it, so can bankruptcies, crime, suicides, domestic violence, and law enforcement costs.
In addition, legalized gambling can subvert the political process as elected officials become
dependent upon a powerful pro-gambling lobby within state and local governments.
After studying this issue for five years, we are convinced that growing government dependence on gambling for revenues and jobs is an extremely troubling development for our nation — much more troubling, in fact, than many legislators and community leaders realize.
The creation of our Institute comes at a crucial time. Over the next few years, dozens of cities and states will consider whether to allow new or expanded gambling ventures. In addition, the federally created National Gambling Impact Study Commission, which will make recommendations for future government action, will need reliable research information. Former Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation creating this Commission says of our proposed work, “The need for solid research on legalized gambling in this nation grows daily. The United States Gambling Research Institute could make a significant contribution to our nation and I am pleased to support it.”
What the USGRI can do for your community
Our experience shows that even modest funds, used strategically, can have a major impact on the gambling debate. By being able to share research and experiences from communities across the country, the United States Gambling Research Institute will provide a wide range of information that people need to make intelligent decisions.
That information will be disseminated through an Internet site that will be updated weekly with news and information from across the country. It will be available free to anyone. In addition, we will provide a number of services for a fee. These would include visits to your community to speak with citizens’ groups, public officials and the press about the impact of legalized gambling; analysis of a specific proposal to bring new forms of legalized gambling to your community; and specific research projects designed to illustrate the social and economic effects of legalized gambling. For more information about how we can help you, please call us.