Is Gambling Good For The Economy?


Gambling isn’t an activity which should be viewed as posing an ethical dilemma instead it should be viewed from the perspective as having the ability to be a major contributor to the economy of a country. Some states have conquered this ethical dilemma, welcomed and promote gambling within their borders and now have the data to show how it is a legitimate strategy towards economic development. There are casinos, lotteries, racetracks and in recent times online casinos which add in the filling of government reserves with funds that are used towards the funding of well-intentioned government programs in the state.

There is also the argument in favor of gambling been a major contributor and it is from the angle of provision of jobs. Gambling can help in the reduction of unemployment and also aid in the provision of benefits to such people. Before any of this can be achieved however, gambling must be seen as, not just a form of entertainment, but a positive force which if well managed and regulated can help the economy grow, not as a social problem. This has and can be done from the advancement of state gambling such as lotteries.

It is not enough to say, gambling has economic value, there is still the question of the social cost of gambling. How many jobs does gambling provide? Does government see an increase in revenue from gambling? A report states that state revenue from gambling rose steadily from between the years 1998 and 2007. There is an estimated $23.3 billion realized from gambling within this period. In 2007 alone, some states were reported to have made $1billion collectively while some made $500 million collectively from gambling. Looking at the revenues generated, it is safe to say, it would keep growing.

The only downside seen which might hamper the growth of the gambling or gaming industry is the social cost. This refers to the negative impact which gambling has on individuals. This social cost would make a negative impact on the steady rise of growth which the gambling revenue has enjoyed in recent years. Pathological gambling is a serious issue within the United States. It is a mental health issue which regenerates a lot of concern as a society which has a good number of its citizenry suffering from mental issue cannot grow. This will always be a continuing issue which will diminish the growth of gambling.

That been said, there are some reports from analyst who argue that the revenues generated from gambling are completely overestimated. They argue that the figures which the states report are net economic gain meaning when individuals come into the borders of the states to gamble, they do not leave the monies won  in the casinos. They take the monies and leave to their respective abodes. So, it isn’t economically right to report these amounts as economic gains. Therefore, a casino has more value to local citizens towards their enjoyment and does not overly contribute to economic gains.

The social cost of gambling cannot be only viewed from the negative effects it has on individuals but must always be viewed from an assessment of its benefits against the cost it poses to the economy. Social costs of gambling are not easily well defined as most groups would make it. It is not easy to adequately measure the social costs. How do you measure the cost of negative effects of pathological gambling? It might be measurable in terms of the money lost but can emotional pain be measured? Can the number of disintegrated marriages be measured? There are reports which have further linked gambling to domestic violence and homelessness. Can these be measured?

The social cost of gambling on the society would manifest in a higher crime rate within the state, increase in unemployment, bankruptcy, embezzlement, lower productivity, failure to report at scheduled work hours. The list can go on. So, looking at the benefits as against the cost of gambling within an economy must be viewed from an individual perspective and a societal perspective. The fractures which these social cost cause in the fabric of society are not as easily eradicated as most people would imagine. Then why does the support for gambling still thrive in societies? Why is the question still asked, is gambling good for the economy?

Well, it depends on where you are standing. Individuals who enjoy the best casino bonuses uk would argue for gambling been a positive force in the economy. Casino owners would argue in favour of gambling as it would increase the revenues and benefits which they would earn, bureaucratic agencies would support casino gambling because the revenues generated from gaming would be used to support agency activities. Elected government officials will see gambling as a means to urbanize a downtrodden area of a city. It all will boil down to the fulfillment of self-interest.

With the above been said, the issue of gambling been a positive force for economic development is still controversial. There are individuals on both sides of the divide, i.e., interest groups who would be for and against gambling. The supporters would say, it is a form of entertainment for the people who choose to engage in it. Therefore, the choice of engaging in gambling activities should be left to them to spend their money as they see fit. They also look at the possibility of job creation and the possible positive impact gambling will have on an economy. Those who are not in favor will consider the social cost to individuals and society.

Gambling can help in economic growth from gaming revenue generated but as with any venture, it has its ills which give some groups pause. This therefore gives rise to the need for constant regulation of the industry to ensure there is no abuse and operators of gambling licenses operate within the law. It is the duty of state governments to enforce such regulations for the protection of its residents.


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