In the public through their marketing ploys,

In the land of free trade, the public does not view all
industries as equal because some industries are more harmful to the public than
others. I do not believe this to be unethical, nor do I believe those
industries are unfairly untargeted. Compare, for example, the soda and casino
industry. Research has shown soda consumption leads to diabetes and obesity.
Coca-Cola is well-aware, funding millions to scientists to negate the
connection between soda and obesity (O’Connor, 2016). Although health risks are
involved, the soda industry does not compare to the way the casino industry preys
on the mentally-ill, destroying their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

            People
play a role in the choices they make and the lives that they lead. However, the
casino industry has too much financial power and ability to entice the public
through their marketing ploys, making it difficult for customers to refuse. As
an advocate for the consumer, it is neither unethical nor unfair to target the
casino industry; especially when, as explained by Professor Richard Daynard,
also president of the Public Health Advocacy Institute, “The business plan for
casinos is not based on the occasional gambler. The business plan for casinos
is based on the addicted gambler (Rosengren, 2016).” The casino commerce
attains data on their biggest spenders, who are mostly pathological gamblers
and addicts, and immorally targets them to return to their business with
benefits and VIP treatment such as “free” drinks, meals, suites, transportation
service, gifts from the shop, and activities for their spouse (Rosengren, 2016).

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            Under
the rule of capitalism, private companies operate with the motivation to make
profit. Seeing that as much as $5 billion is spent on gambling in the United
States annually (Dryden-Edwards, 2016), the casino industry definitely comes
out as victor in the capitalist system. However, they need to have a moral
obligation to its patrons. The industry turns a blind eye to the harmful
effects of gambling. They ignore the fact that these individuals accumulate so
much debt from borrowing or stealing money it eventually leads down a path of bankruptcy
or legal issues, many of whom turn to attempting or committing suicide
(Dryden-Edwards, 2016).

            It is difficult
to imagine, seeing how rapidly casinos have multiplied across the country, that
casino gambling was illegal everywhere in the United States except for Nevada
and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The casino industry is such a profit powerhouse
that the government has become a partner with them, going as far as selling
lottery tickets, fueling its citizen’s gambling addiction. The government legalized
casino gambling because it believes the industry is valuable for economic
growth, such as “increased employment, greater tax revenue to state and local
governments, and growth in local retail sales (Garrett, 2002).” One must wonder
how beneficial it can be for the economy if its consumers are accruing tens to
hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. As Peter Franchot, the comptroller of
Maryland, once said, “We have set ourselves up in partnership with a predatory
industry…The profits come mainly from a group of addicts that are recruited and
nurtured by casinos until they’re out of money (Rosengren, 2016).”

             There are many ways the casino industry can
improve the way they are viewed by the public. I deeply believe that it is
possible for them to cater to their best interest and their consumers as well if
they can start acting morally and ethically. First, they can stop encouraging
the pathological gamblers by training their hosts to say things such as “You’ll
win it back”, and lending credit to players who have spent all their money
(Rosengren, 2016). Casinos should also put windows and clocks throughout the
building, allowing people to know how much time has passed since they started
playing. Additionally, they need to limit the ease of accessing cash and the
amount of alcohol served to an individual, as alcohol clouds a person’s judgment,
rendering them vulnerable to the casino’s influence.

Furthermore, the
government should also do its part by making and enforcing laws that require
casinos to take gambling addicts seriously, not use them as a means to make
money. A great case in point is Marc Lefkowitz of the California Council on
Problem Gambling. He trains casino managers and employees to watch for
troublesome patterns from its customers and urges casinos to display
information about gambling addiction and treatment options near ATM machines (Jabr,
2013). If other states can follow Mr. Lefkowitz’s example, perhaps many lives
and the lives of their loved ones can be saved, and the casino industry can be
viewed as equal to other industries.