For the Defense - Vol. 6, Issue 2 - 37

Defending Gambling-Related
Crimes: Guidance for Attorneys
Lia Nower
I
n
the past
20 years,
legalized gambling
opportunities in the U.S. have increased
exponentially, from land-based casinos located
exclusively in Las Vegas and Atlantic City to
online casinos, sports and e-sports wagering on
tablets and mobile phones. Gambling is legal in
all but two states and available 24/7 in some form
everywhere.
To date, 27 states plus the District of Columbia
have legalized the largest
income-generator,
sports wagering, with 13 additional states awaiting
debate over legislation.1
As a result, billions of
dollars are wagered annually across a range of
products, and states have become dependent on
the tax revenue. Pennsylvania, which has a higher
tax rate than many, has particularly benefited
from this expansion.
Increases in availability and accessibility
of gambling opportunities have fostered an
acceptance of gambling, which was once
considered a vice. Casino nights, lotteries
and raffles, casino trips and college
e-sports
tournaments encourage gambling across all
sectors of the population and at younger and
younger ages. Early initiation into gambling for
recreation can, in turn, lead to increased frequency
and intensity of play to a level that generates
gambling-related harm and results in gambling
problems and, possibly, a gambling disorder.
What is Gambling Disorder?
Most people who gamble do so for recreation
only. However, a proportion of individuals
experience a wide range of adverse consequences,
including stress-induced health problems,2
criminality
and
also
called
bankruptcy,3
rates of family violence,4
in suicide or familicide.5
" pathological "
or
and
elevated
sometimes resulting
Gambling disorder,
" compulsive "
gambling, is classified as an addiction along
with substance-based addictions. It is diagnosed
clinically using nine criteria
from the DSM-5,6
including: tolerance, withdrawal, loss of control,
preoccupation, emotional escape, chasing, lying,
lost relationships, and bailouts.
Epidemiological studies have consistently
reported that 80% to 90% of adults gamble at
some point in their lives and 60% to 80% report
gambling within the past year; rates of gambling
disorder average about 2% in adults, with subclinical
rates of about 3% to 5%.7-10
Rates among
youth are generally double those in adults.11
Across the U.S., rates of problem gambling vary,
depending on factors including exposure to
gambling opportunities and ease of access. In New
Jersey, which has a long tradition of gambling,
prevalence rates of high-risk problem gambling
are nearly 6%, with even higher rates among
specific subgroups.12
gambling are highest among youth,12
Reported rates of problem
racial and
Vol. 6, Issue 2 l For The Defense 37

For the Defense - Vol. 6, Issue 2

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