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Could Legalized Gambling Actually Decrease Crime?

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Imagine a world in which police and other law enforcement officials could spend more time concentrating on violent crimes instead of illegal gambling operations. That is the possibility that presents itself if more states would legalize casino gambling.

Authorities in West Virginia this weekend have raided an illegal gambling operation and walked away with 144 gaming machines. They made no arrests in the raid. Dozens of law enforcement officials were involved.

At a time in the US when even law enforcement agencies are cutting back jobs, more focus is needed on illegal activity in which people are getting seriously, if not fatally, hurt. The time to focus on minor gambling operations has passed.

"In the US, there are people being robbed, homes and businesses being vandalized, and children being abducted. yet, law enforcement agencies continue to focus much manpower on crimes such as illegal gambling. It is taking up valuable resources that could be used efficiently in more serious crimes," said a former officer who wished to remain anonymous.

States have started the process of changing their gambling laws. They are doing so to help with shortcomings in their budgets, but the residual effects could impact crime in these areas.

With gambling becoming legal in casinos, people will no longer have to go to illegally run operations to enjoy slot machines and poker.

"If more states legalize casino gambling, there will be no market for these illegal operations. If the demand is not there, then the money is not there. Once the money disappears, so does the illegal operations, leaving police officers to do more important work," said the officer.

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