The National Gambling Impact Study Commission will release its findings in a June 18 report to Congress, but a preliminary draft recommends a moratorium on gambling expansion.

By a 5-to-4 vote, the panel, after two years of study, suggests "some policymakers at all levels may wish to impose an explicit moratorium on gambling expansion, while awaiting further research and assessment." The commission criticized many state and local governments bent on introducing new video terminals, casinos, and lottery games "with a shocking lack of knowledge about the impact on their own citizens." The panel findings are advisory and are not legally binding.

The commission's preliminary report condemned state governments for lottery promotions. "Many advertisements emphasize luck over hard work, instant gratification over prudent investment, and entertainment over savings."

In addition, the findings uncovered a "startling" amount of wagering—from buying lottery tickets to placing illegal sports bets—by teenagers. "Our children are gamblers," the report states. "They gamble before leaving high school."

The panel is composed of both critics and supporters of legalized gambling. Three members are connected to Nevada gambling operations. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, and Kay Cole James, retiring dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University, also are members.

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