It appears that states are so strapped for cash these days that they have turned to vices – one of which is gambling – to bolster their budgets. A gaming exchange traded fund (ETF) could benefit from the change of heart.

Because of dwindling funds for law enforcement, health care and other public services, a growing number of officials are condoning activities and businesses they’d be quick to clamp down on in headier economic climes, reports Cari Tuna and Justin Scheck for The Wall Street Journal. [Opportunity in the Gaming ETF.]

For fiscal 2011, 38 states project combined budget shortfalls of $89 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, making the case for expansion of the gambling industry more than a vice. It could be a lifesaver for some states.

A couple of examples: Ohio is turning to the gaming industry to aid in fueling the disappearing public funds, and a demolition crew razed an old auto-parts plant in Columbus to make way for a new casino. California legislators are debating whether to allow and tax Internet poker, even though it’s  prohibited by federal law. [High Rollers Saving the Gaming ETF?]

For more stories about gaming, visit our BJK category.

  • Market Vectors Gaming (NYSEArca: BJK): up 9.1% year-to-date; BJK holds 57 securities involved in the gaming industry, including casinos (40.9%), race books (21.5%), internet gambling (5.4%) and horse racing (2.7%)

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.