Economic Shift Has an Impact on the Gambling Industry and on Gamblers University News
For release: June 6, 2008

For press information, contact Jim Whelan, Ph.D., Clinic Co-director, 901-678-3491

As with any business, factors outside the gaming industry have often affected it; examples include smoking bans and rising competition from nearby states.  Currently, weakness in the national economy may be posing a threat to the growth of the gaming industry. 

An article in USA Today recently reported that concerns about job security, increasing gas prices, and rising costs of other goods and services have caused many gamblers to reduce or eliminate trips to casinos.  Those who decide to continue gambling are spending less money than they did before the economic downturn.  Clearly, the gaming industry is influenced by economic factors. Frank Fahrenkopf, CEO of the American Gaming Association, said in the USA Today article, “...anything that hurts consumer spending will have an impact on us...” 

This suggests that the present economic environment may be more serious than realized. In the past, economic hardships have actually led to expansion in the gaming industry.  

"Budget-strapped states have looked to gambling for incremental revenue and an alternative to raising taxes," said Robert LaFleur, a gaming/lodging analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group. This sometimes may increase pressure for states to start gambling operations or expand existing gambling options. 

In the midst of revenue declines, certain gambling industries such as those in Tunica, Miss., have boosted their advertising efforts as well as their promotional deals and offers targeting existing and potential gambling customers.  For instance, Hollywood Casino has created a “Deal or No Deal” promotion, and Harrah’s has recently advertised with two consecutive multiple page ads in the Memphis newspaper.  For problem gamblers, such increased persuasive efforts may create greater high-risk situations for gambling episodes. 

High-risk situations are considered as those that greatly increase the likelihood of individuals engaging in problematic gambling.  Individuals will be faced with making critical decisions between their personal values or goals and gambling.  This may be a good time for those who struggle with this decision to consider where they would like to be financially and how gambling will fit into that picture.  Weighing the pros and cons of gambling, especially during times of economic weakness, can be a first step in making the most informed decision for individuals experiencing problems due to gambling. 

The Gambling Clinic at the University of Memphis is a nonprofit organization that provides low-cost, confidential, outpatient services for individuals experiencing gambling problems. The Gambling Clinic is the largest gambling treatment facility in the region.

For more information about problem gambling, tips for gambling responsibly, and other help, visit The Gambling Clinic’s Web site at www.thegamblingclinic.memphis.edu or call 901-678-3491.


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