Cover image for The big gamble : the politics of lottery and casino expansion
The big gamble : the politics of lottery and casino expansion
Von Herrmann, Denise, 1962-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 148 pages ; 25 cm
Introduction: policy making and morals -- The history and regulation of gambling in the United States -- The politics of gambling adoptions -- STate regulation of gambling -- The economic and social impacts of gambling and their effects on policy -- Rolling the dice: assessments and directions for the future of legal gambling.
Reading Level:
1490 Lexile.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6715 .V77 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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While the gambling industry is indisputably large and powerful, it has received little attention from political scientists. Utilizing a variety of perspectives and techniques, von Herrmann analyzes gambling's recent expansion, finding public attitudes have been shaped both by government policies and the industry's attempts to create a family-friendly image.

Von Herrmann examines the politics of state and federal gambling policy, particularly policies relating to casinos and state lotteries. She considers gambling policy from a variety of perspectives, including the politics of adoption, the state and federal governments' role in policy formation and implementation, and the broad economic and social impact questions related to gambling. The inclusion of several state case studies provides insight into the largely successful reshaping of Americans' image of gambling--from seedy, sinful, and corrupt behavior to a benign, pleasurable entertainment experience--which ultimately has led to widespread availability.

While many have asserted that gambling policy fits well within the political models of morality politics, von Herrmann challenges this notion. Noting that true consensus has not been achieved in the area of gambling policy, she shows how supporters' economic arguments and opponents' moral concerns have effectively bifurcated the current debates on gambling policy; gambling is now viewed by many in two distinct and separate bodies of thought. As she observes, the challenge for the future of gambling policy is to find ways to bridge the gap. Of particular interest to scholars, students, and other researchers involved with public policy, particularly that relating to gambling.

Author Notes

Denise von Herrmann is Chair of the Arts and Sciences Division, the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast

Reviews 1

Choice Review

When a public figure like William Bennett confesses to having a gambling addiction, and state governments across the country pin their hopes of closing massive budget deficits with expanded revenues from casinos and lotteries, a book on the politics of gambling is certainly timely. Replete with data, tables, and references, Von Herrmann's volume complements nicely the recent literature on these topics: Charles Clotfelter and Philip Cook's Selling Hope (CH, Jun'90) and two works by Richard McGowan, State Lotteries and Legalized Gambling (CH, Jun'95) and Government and the Transformation of the Gaming Industry (CH, Feb'02). The author moves from a brief history and overview of gambling in the US to the politics of gambling adoptions, reviewing the decision-making process with five case study illustrations--New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, Louisiana, and Alabama. In this section and in subsequent chapters she integrates the roles and influences of the various participants--voters (and public support); politicians, lobbyists, and bureaucrats; and the gambling industry itself. Von Herrmann (Univ. of Southern Mississippi) then discusses state regulation of gambling, ending with summaries of national and state studies and public opinion surveys, to assess the economic and social impacts and the longer-term consequences of gambling. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Public; academic, lower-division undergraduate and up; and professional library collections. A. R. Sanderson University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Tablesp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
1 Introduction: Policy Making and Moralsp. 1
2 The History and Regulation of Gambling in the United Statesp. 9
3 The Politics of Gambling Adoptionsp. 33
4 State Regulation of Gamblingp. 71
5 The Economic and Social Impacts of Gambling and Their Effects on Policyp. 87
6 Rolling the Dice: Assessments and Directions for the Future of Legal Gamblingp. 117
Bibliographyp. 125
Indexp. 143