Gambling: The Good, The Bad And The Crazy

Gambling is one of the most controversial topics in modern day society. Some people think it’s the best thing on the planet, others reckon casinos are the work of Satan. For every person that thinks gambling laws should be relaxed, there is someone else who feels regulations should be even harsher.

Graph showing what people about gambling being morally wrong

So when it comes down to it, are there more positive or negative impacts from legalizing gambling around the world?

Let’s take a look at some of the facts that contradict the common misconceptions about the influence gambling laws can have on society.

Does Gambling Damage the Economy?

1.7 million casino jobs in America

One of the biggest criticisms of legalised gambling is that it has a negative influence on the economy. Critics say this is because individuals could become addicted and run up large debts. That would mean they had less money to spend on consumer goods and other purchases.

There was even one economist that speculated that because casinos trade in money, as opposed to goods and services, they would damage the local economy.

An article from Bloomberg journalist Christopher Palmeri also pointed to the fact that the casino industry is now becoming saturated. That means that instead of benefiting the economy, casinos are now having an adverse effect.

This has been countered by supporters of legalised gambling though. They say it’s the economy that’s restricting casino revenues. It has been reported by the Journal of Gambling Business and Economics (

Gambling laws around the world also require players to pay a percentage of any winnings over a certain amount to the government in taxation. This is a win-win situation for the government.

It’s also worth mentioning the jobs and tourism boost that casinos bring to a local area. Places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Macau have been made from their gambling heritage.

Gambling laws around the world also require players to pay a percentage of any winnings over a certain amount to the government in taxation. This is a win-win situation for the government.

It’s also worth mentioning the jobs and tourism boost that casinos bring to a local area. Places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Macau have been made from their gambling heritage.

Casino Tourism – It’s a Thing!

Vegas sign showing 42.3 tourists came to Vegas last year

Even in countries where the government doesn’t take a tax cut from player winnings, the economy still benefits from tourists that visit the casinos to take advantage of the untaxed winnings.

The UK is a prime example of this with players flocking from Europe and further afar to play at the country’s top casinos.

Casinos as a whole, are very much a sector of tourism in their own right. Las Vegas casinos offer stunning live shows featuring acts like Cirque du Soleil, Britney Spears, and Calvin Harris. Each casino has its own dazzling array of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs too.

Casinos as a whole, are very much a sector of tourism in their own right. Las Vegas casinos offer stunning live shows featuring acts like Cirque du Soleil, Britney Spears, and Calvin Harris. Each casino has its own dazzling array of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs too.

To put it simply, casinos are now a lot more than just casinos. They are entertainment resorts.

casino chip showing 30.9 million visitors to Macau in 2016At the end of 2016, Wynn Macau announced increased revenues and they say it was due to higher tourist numbers

As a result, the casino operator is now planning on making the resort a more family-friendly venue.

How Does Online Gambling Benefit?

In jurisdictions where gambling has been legalized, it has laid the foundations for a thriving online gambling community. Players tend to use online casinos and gaming sites to practice before they hit the live casino floors.

A number of land based casinos have even decided to launch online versions of their casinos.

Some have gone further and linked their land-based and online loyalty rewards and discounts.

Legalized gambling also makes it a lot easier for the online gambling industry to make a profit. Statistics portal Statista stated that the size of the global online gambling market had reached $45.86 billion at the end of 2016. The projected global size of the online gambling market for 2018 is $56.05 billion.

The Tricky Gambling Addiction Question

Statistics show you are 23 times more likely to develop a gambling problem if you've ever been an alcoholic The risk of gambling addiction will always be at the top of the list of concerns when it comes to legalized gambling. Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson spoke to Time magazine about his concerns over the legalization of online gambling.

Addiction within society and a risk of criminals and terrorist groups manipulating the system were some of his worries.

Unfortunately though, gambling addiction is a far more complex issue than simply blaming the legalisation of gambling.

It could be argued that making it illegal forces gambling addicts underground. This is very much the same argument that some have regarding the illegal use of marijuana. You only need to look at Prohibition-era America to see the consequences of forcing a recreation underground.

It has also been confirmed that developing a compulsive gambling addiction is increased 23-fold if an individual has experienced addiction to alcohol.

This raises an interesting question. Is addiction actaully more dependent on the individual’s personality, rather than the act of gambling itself?

The same source states that only 3-5 out of every 100 gamblers is expected to experience gambling addiction.

Figures show up to 5 out of every 100 gamblers develops a gambling problem

The Final Verdict

Gambling is still a subject that divides opinion and that’s not going to change any time soon. However, the truth is that when the facts are laid out, it’s clear that most gambling can be considered a safe and enjoyable hobby that also provides benefits for the local economy and society.

In jurisdictions where gambling is illegal, it is simply forced into the shadows. People will still gamble underground and the negative impact of gambling will rear its ugly head again. The difference being that when gambling is legal, the help for those that are addicted is readily available.

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