Gambling Upbeat in Downbeat Economy
By Earl
If Illinois gambling is any indication of gambling elsewhere, and why wouldn't it be, despite hard times casino gambling is 'raking in money hand over fist,' according to sources from the Associated Press.

Through November, Illinois casinos earned $93 million more than during the same time last year, an increase of 6 percent ... There appears to be at least one sure bet in the current economic downturn: People will keep gambling.

One interesting detail in this finding is that the increased casino revenue comes from fewer customers:

'Although admissions to Illinois casinos are down 3 percent this year, customers are spending an average $8 more per visit,' the AP reports.

Gambling is on the upturn in other areas. A five-year decline in state lottery sales appears to be over. Ticket sales in Illinois have amounted to $621 million in the last five months. 'The lottery is expected to reverse the downward trend, which began after sales peaked at $1.6 billion in 1996.'

There is another side to the coin. Dr. Seth Eisenberg, a psychiatrist and former president of the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling, said that gambling is also how some people '... deal with anxiety and depression ... Also, gamblers often are older people who crave social activities and are on fixed incomes that may not be tied to economic markets'

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