I would argue that there is a definite link between the levels of social deprivation in any given community and the existence of a thriving gambling community. The two work hand in hand and they may even further the growth of the other aspect. The evidence is clear. In a recent survey of the area where slot machines were prevalent, it was discovered that they had higher than average rates of unemployment, infant mortality, family break up and crime. In this article we will try to discuss how social deprivation becomes linked to slot machines but not in a way as to denigrate the game. Everyone appreciates that gambling in general and slot machine in particular have a role to play in society. However we also need to understand whether they cause social deprivation so that proper corrective action can be taken.
The Difficulties of Coming to a Definite Conclusion
It is not scientifically possible to give a definite answer to the effect that deprivation in a particular area is whole or largely due to the presence of slot machine gambling. There may be a variety of other factors which do not seem significant at the moment but which have a powerful impact on the way in which deprivation takes a foot hold in a community.
Social deprivation can be caused by a multiplicity of factors even within one household. For instance stunted educational opportunities, absentee parents, alcoholism and unemployment may afflict a given family. Gambling may also join the mix but it is difficult to say with certainty which factors have the biggest influence and which factors are less powerful.
The next best thing is to look at associations and behavioral consequences based on an observation of how the entrance of gambling into a community can lead to less positive outcomes for members of that community. The first practical consideration is that gambling takes away money from other societal obligations.
Given the relatively high propensity for addiction, people who use slot machines will lead a chaotic financial life and will often fall into debt. The money that feeds their addiction may not be readily available unless they are independently wealthy. In most cases their poverty is compounded by the new threat of a voracious appetite for gambling. The existing financial worries that they may have faced are then exacerbated and could lead to serious mental health difficulties.
If someone has a serious gambling addiction they will be much less likely to invest in anything apart from their addiction. This is the cycle of poverty at its very worst. When you join the slot machine brigade, the social negatives that count against your progress multiply at a very rapid rate and you will be in danger of being left behind. If you are already marginalized from the main economy, your addiction will do nothing to bring you back. Instead it will ensure that you sink back into unrelenting social deprivation.