The Economic and Social Costs of Gambling


The economic and social costs of gambling have been largely ignored in studies on the subject. While it is true that the cost of gambling may not necessarily affect the individual’s health, it has a significant social impact on society. For this reason, the concept of social costs in gambling research is crucial for determining its social impacts. Walker and Barnett have developed a framework for social costs and benefits of gambling based on the concept of harm rather than benefit to society.

While the total amount of money wagered annually worldwide is approximately $10 trillion, it is likely that the total amount is higher. The largest form of gambling is lotteries, which are run by states. In the late 20th century, state-operated lotteries began to expand rapidly across Europe and the U.S. Organized football pools are found in almost every European country, as well as in several South American, Asian, and African countries. State-licensed wagering on other sporting events is also common in most countries.

While some people view gambling as a beneficial activity, other groups argue that it has negative effects on the economy. The recreational/amusement sector has the most negative effects, largely due to the low salaries. Small businesses in the region have the most difficulty recruiting staff and retaining them. Moreover, there is a high probability of inflation, increased shop rents, and increased operating costs. Thus, the benefits of gambling are comparatively low. In Macao, the government has chosen to import migrant workers to meet the demand for low-wage jobs.

Tax revenue generated by gambling can be channeled to worthwhile purposes. It can also fund public education. Public educators teach probability and mathematics, which would not be possible without the money generated by the lottery. However, one should remember that good ends cannot justify dishonest means. If a government had legitimate intentions, it would not legalize theft, fraud, or gambling. That is why if gambling was banned, the state would not see such a high decline in its tax revenue.