The answer appears to be yes, and no.
Two political science professors have analyzed legalized gambling revenue and public spending in West Virginina in the most recent issue of “The West Virginia Public Affairs Reporter,” published by theÂ Institute for Public Affairs at WVU’s Politial Science Department.
In their report, “Counting the Chips: The Policy Consequences of Legalized Gambling in West Virginia”, professors Patrick A. Pierce and Richard A. Brisbin Jr., found:
— State and local governments have certainly become more dependent legalized gambling revenue. West Virginia received $25.4 million in gambling revenue in 1991, compared to $639.2 million in 2007.
— Municipal and county governments began receiving legalized gambling revenue in2003, when it amounted to $3.4 million. In 2007, cities and counties received $7.8 million.
Legalized gambling makes a small contribution to relatively low-wage job creation in the state.
— Social costs and problem gambling are difficult to measure, but an earlier study found that problem and pathological gambling was three to four times as common among people living closer than 50 miles from a casino compared to those living farther away. Practically every West Virginian lives within 50 miles of a video lottery outlet and five of the 10 largest cities are within 50 miles of a racetrack with electronic gaming.