Does Gambling Hurt or Help the Economy?

It’s a question that has been argued for hundreds of years and one that always finds a way to raise its head in the current climate: Does gambling hurt the economy or does it help it?

There are two sides to every story, tow arguments for every case. The ones who want to see gambling legalized in the United States point to the fact that it will generate more money for the regions in which the casinos are placed. They argue that it will help to boost business, creating more jobs, attracting more tourists and generally keeping more money in.

The ones against it argue that it will destroy these local towns. They say that it will eradicate local business, making everything a front for gambling and effectively wiping out any sense of identity and culture that these regions had previously. But what is the truth?

Gambling is Not That Profitable

As Christians, we campaign against gambling legalization because it is immoral and promotes unethical activity. But let’s not kid ourselves. That has nothing to do with why it’s illegal. The truth is, if it made money then it would be legal.

Las Vegas makes a lot of money, there is no mistaking that. But they have the answer, the solution—they know how to do it properly. Outside of Sin City gambling is a very low-scale business. It’s seedy and it caters for people who don’t have money. The locals in places like New Jersey and even Baltimore (where new casinos are planned) don’t have the riches that the locals in Vegas so.

As a result, it creates more problems for the economy than it solves. Gambling addiction is one of the major negative factors in this, and gambling addiction is more prominent in poorer cities because the ones doing the gambling already have limited control of their finances.

Why It’s Bad

We can use previous casinos as an example here. These places are expensive to maintain and to build. They need a lot of money coming in if they are to cover costs, pay wages and keep the new machines coming through the doors. There are casinos opening and closing all over the country, from Mississippi to Ohio, because players that used to flock through the doors and spend in excess of $100, are choosing to stay at home. Even when they do go, they are spending just $30 or $40 a time.

One casino in Ohio saw a major demographic of women over 50 who would spend $75 a night each. But in just a couple of years these women started spending less and less and visiting less and less, and then the casino just stopped being profitable.

When that happens you’re left with a shell of a casino and a hollow industry. Such is the case with Atlantic City. The bright lights and big promise turn to desolation and seediness and the “hottest new tourist destination” becomes a place that even the locals don’t want to associate with.

It’s Not All Bad

There are positives to gambling for the economy. Real money gambling and gaming in Canada is huge, for instance, and they have done it right. You will find grand casinos in many parts of Canada, regenerating massive income for the regions in which they are located.

The difference is that these are already tourist areas. They are effectively mini-Sin Cities. People travel from miles around and will happily spend time at any of these regions because they all offer something worthwhile.

In the US, that’s not the case. No self-respecting gambler is going to fly all the way from Asia or Europe just so they can spend time in a Baltimore or Ohio casino. There is nothing there for tourists. The same goes for Mississippi and other regions where you can find casinos.

In other words, the locals don’t have the money or desire, and the tourists don’t care. Las Vegas is partly to blame for essentially monopolizing gambling in the US, but the ones opening the casinos are also to blame because they are targeting locals who can’t afford to gamble and tourists who just don’t care.

The Christian Post