Letter to the editor: Westmoreland's casino bet VIII
The article “White House: True cost of opioid epidemic tops $500 billion” illustrates the need to consider both the positive and negative effects of all tax-related sources of revenue. This is the only way to determine if there is a true benefit.
Tobacco generates revenue but has significant health-related costs. Alcohol generates revenue but has serious negative effects such as DUI and a long list of social and legal costs related to addiction. Recreational marijuana is being praised for its tax-revenue benefits, but not much has been said about costs related to addictive use of marijuana.
Now more casinos are being touted as a great source of tax revenue. Gambling in moderation can be fun but, unfortunately, there are adverse consequences associated with addiction. I have yet to see any true cost figures addressing the adverse effects of addictive gambling.
I implore, and hope others do the same, the investigative reporters of this newspaper to determine both the potential tax revenue and adverse behavioral costs of expanding the gambling footprint with another casino. Absent information about all the true costs, how can one make an informed decision on such an important economic evaluation?