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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL)

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STATE SHOULD EXAMINE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COSTS OF GAMBLING: Rep. Hornstein calls for study of unseen, future costs to Minnesota taxpayers

Friday, April 1, 2005
Rep. Frank Hornstein News Release Minnesota House of Representatives District 60B (651) 296-9281 227 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155 Contact: Melissa Parker (651) 296-8873 April 1, 2005 STATE SHOULD EXAMINE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COSTS OF GAMBLING Rep. Hornstein calls for study of unseen, future costs to Minnesota taxpayers SAINT PAUL—Following a presentation by Baylor University Professor Earl Grinols on the drawback of state reliance on gambling to generate funds, Rep. Frank Hornstein announced legislation (HF1770) that would require the state to study in-depth the social and economic costs associated with gambling. "Gaming proposals seem to be a dime-a-dozen at the State Capitol lately," said Hornstein. "Budget challenges and no-new-taxes pledges have led some state leaders to see expanded gaming as a cure-all and a source of funding for everything from education to healthcare. However, no one has bothered to look at the long-term costs associated with gambling." Studies performed around the nation, including those by Prof. Grinols, have suggested that the long-term economic costs greatly outweigh the benefits gained by gaming revenues. A report published in the Spring 2003 Stanford Journal of Law Business and Finance concluded that for every dollar the state receives in gambling funds, it costs taxpayers three dollars. Rep. Hornstein said that a Minnesota-specific study should be performed so that legislators can be informed about the potential costs and benefits. "All that Sen. Ranum and I are saying is the state should look before it leaps into expanding gambling," said Rep. Hornstein. Sen. Jane Ranum is the author of the bill in the Senate. "When these gaming proposals are brought before the legislature," continued Hornstein, "the potential for significant social and economic costs should be front and center in the debate." Rep. Hornstein pointed to the third annual Minnesota Problem Gambling Awareness Conference taking place today at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Saint Paul as a sign of what toll gambling can take on individuals and its families. The host, Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance, is a private, public and non-profit coalition that addresses issues related to addiction gambling. "The work of the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance is so important to the lives of those negatively impacted by gambling addition," said Hornstein. "The demand for their services for the problem gambler and those affected by problem gambling is there already. My bill says, let's take a long hard look at how many more families may be impacted and what the cost to the state may be in the long run." ###