Three alternatives to the present method of dealing with illegal gambling are to increase police activity against illegal gambling, to legalize or decriminalize most gambling activities, and to encourage and support legal or State-run alternatives to illegal gambling.
However, none of these options necessarily has major advantages over the other options or over present policy. No reasonable amount of police activity will eliminate all illegal gambling. Although broad support exists for the legalization of some gambling activities, a significant number of Americans believe that any form of gambling is wrong. Legalized gambling appears to create new gamblers. To provide State-run activities which would be truly competitive with illegal games would require activities which are highly flexible, inexpensive to run, retain a fairly small takeout, and are virtually untaxed. State-run gambling also represents a regressive tax which is much more expensive to collect than income and sales taxes. The five major types of illegal gambling are sports betting with bookmakers, horse betting with bookmakers, sports parlay cards, numbers, and illegal casinos. Substantial numbers of Americans engage in these activities, particularly in urban areas. Illegal gambling offers benefits through its recreational component and its provision of many individuals who are officially listed as being unemployed. However, illegal gambling also provides money for the underworld activities of crime syndicates, leads to some police corruption, and can lead directly to other types of crime. Data tables and a list of 42 references are supplied.
United States of America