A book has warned that a surge of legalized gambling in the last two decade is affecting security and military readiness in the United States.
The latest volume in the three-part United States International Gambling Report Series points out that casinos drain money from consumer products and services, weakening the economic engine that ultimately drives defence spending.
"We cannot maintain a strong military presence with a weak economy," said University of Illinois professor John W. Kindt, a national gambling critic and contributing author and editor of the series.
"Widespread gambling gambles with our national security by dragging down our national economic security," he added.
The books says that gambling siphons money from the traditional consumer economy, where an economic "multiplier effect" triples the value of every dollar spent by creating jobs that supply goods and services.
It also highlights the fact that Russia closed 2,230 casinos in 2006-07 citing the national security and military consequences, virtually abolishing legal gambling.
"The social costs of gambling are high, but the overriding strategic issue has always been the military and national security implications of economies that get weaker and weaker because of gambling," said Kindt, a professor of business and public policy.
The book also includes research that says gambling provides a haven that both fuels and finances terrorism.
"We're seeing all kinds of really outrageous examples of people averse to our interests who are using gambling to their advantage and our detriment, such as laundering money through casinos around the world," Kindt said.
According to the series, gambling addiction also is increasing among U.S. military personnel, hampering readiness.
Global expansion of gambling got its roots in 1988, when the U.S. approved the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and established the first federal framework to regulate gaming.
The series says that the move wrongly suggested that gambling promoted economic development, and countries around the world soon began lifting bans on gambling and emulating U.S. gaming technology.
"Gambling actually destabilizes and corrupts governmental and financial systems, and legalized gambling poses significant threats to the national security of the United States and its allies," Kindt said.