Wrapping up a two-year report, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission on June 18 made 76 recommendations to curtail betting.

In its report to Congress, the nine-member panel proposed removing automatic teller machines from gambling areas, halting Internet betting, banning college sports wagering, restricting contributions politicians receive from gambling interests, and prohibiting gambling for those under age 21.

"This report will act like the Surgeon General's 1964 report on smoking and health," says Tom Grey, executive director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. "It's a wake-up call for America on the dangers of gambling."

However, the commission has no regulatory authority. And political realities may mean few, if any, of the recommendations will ever be implemented. In fact, five state legislatures already have acted this year to expand gambling, just as the commission suggested a moratorium on expansion (CT, June 14, 1999, p. 14). And four U.S. senators made trips to Las Vegas to raise funds the final week the commission met, as more and more lawmakers are being courted by the industry (CT, May 24, 1999, p. 46).

The panel also urged state lotteries to end aggressive marketing campaigns that target the poor and youth. Yet three days before the release of the study, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a ban on broadcast advertising by casinos.

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