Where to get the inside dope on gambling’s pros and cons

By Reid Kanaley The Philadelphia Inquirer

Gambling — now a revenue source for many governments — poses knotty policy questions.

Pathological gambling: Gambling has allure for individuals seeking entertainment with the chance — however remote — of quick riches. The National Council on Problem Gambling, based in Washington, says it is not for or against gambling, per se, but tries to promote awareness of and treatment for destructive “pathological gambling.” It certifies counselors, operates a help line, and provides educational material and links to other services such as Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon. www.ncpgambling.org

•Here’s Gamblers Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org

And here is Gam-Anon: www.gam-anon.org

Nevada bling: Nevada put the bling in gambling, and the state is home to the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming. Operating out of the University of Nevada-Reno, the institute offers programs in gaming management. It runs development programs for gaming executives but says in its literature it also focuses on the wider public-policy issues that involve gambling. It lists publications that include “The Downside: Problem and Pathological Gambling,” as well as “Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition.” www.unr.edu/gaming

Pros and cons: The archived site for “Easy Money,” a “Frontline” documentary, includes this page listing websites and articles arguing for and against gambling, whose alleged easy riches also attract cash-starved governments. The “pro” list has titles such as “The Virtues of Gambling,” and the “con” list features “The Government as Predator — a Troubling New Role in Troubled Economies.” to.pbs.org/Uv7LHW

Online gambling: Wagering over the Internet already has a murky legal history and has its own attractions and pitfalls — for individuals, the gaming industry and policymakers. What, for example, is the attraction to gambling by oneself? In the context of the thorny legal tussle over Internet casinos, HowStuffWorks explains online gambling, how it’s done and even how it complicates cheating. bit.ly/UKAmtg