What are the Benefits of Gambling?
The word “gambling” always has a negative connotation. Whenever the topic is discussed, it is rarely about anything beneficial. Despite the popularity of gambling – about 1/7 of the world’s population engage in gambling activities each year – gambling is somehow always associated with addiction, crime and violence.
It is undeniable that gambling addiction is real: researches have proved that excessive gambling can cause profound changes to brain functions and chemistry, making it impossible for the individual to stop gambling.
Nevertheless, gambling is far from merely a sin. The political, economic and mental benefits gambling brings about are actually more than you can imagine. Here we will discuss how gambling can improve the economy and bring a positive influence on your mental health. Read on to find out more:
Political Benefit: Gambling Increases Tax Revenues
Tax revenues are perhaps the most prominent political benefit of gambling. HM Treasury, for example, is getting impressively high tax from the gambling industry. According to HM Revenue and Customs, the betting, gaming and lottery duty almost reached £2.8 billion in 2016.
Although legalised gambling in the majority of American states only occupies a small proportion of state tax receipts, in most cases no more than 5%, casino taxes are still important for politicians as they effectively avoid spending cuts or other tax increases.
This explains why a large number of gamblers in Connecticut and Rhode Island has become a motivation to legalise casinos in Massachusetts. The hundreds of millions of potential casino revenue are going to contribute to the overall tax revenue for the state.
State-run lotteries can also make up a significant proportion of government revenues. Lottery games such as Powerball and Mega Millions, together with thousands of scratch-off cards, are the source of billions of dollars in revenue for the United States. The revenue generated from the self-imposed tax is not big enough to replace the income tax, but its contribution to government revenues is unquestionable.
Economic Benefit: Gambling Stimulates Local Economies
Casinos attract consumers from outside the area where the casinos are located to spend money on gambling as well as on other local businesses. Hotels are a classic example of businesses that benefit hugely from the casino industry.
The gambling industry also generates numerous job opportunities for their local communities. According to the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), the UK government’s decision to reduce maximum stakes on FOBTs from £100 to £2 would severely damage the economy. A study by KPMG, commissioned by the ABB, suggested that the crackdown would cause thousands of the UK’s 8,788 bookmaking shops to close down, hence resulting in the loss of more than 20,000 of the 106,678 jobs created by the gambling industry.
Studies in the US have also proved that the employment rate of counties with casinos is 8% higher than those without. Wages are also slightly higher in casino counties.
Therefore, while most gamblers go home empty handed, they have actually brought new wealth to the local communities, helping them prosper.
Mental Benefit: Gambling is Good For Your Brain
Believe it or not, gambling is an effective way to keep our brains strong and healthy. We stop using parts of our brain as we grow older, and when these areas become weaker, it can speed up senility. Panic not – we can slow down this process by keeping our brains busy. Studies have shown that people who engage in activities that require a high level of thought and concentration tend to age slower, and gambling can be one of those activities.
Blackjack, for example, demands an intensive use of short-term memory. Training your short-term memory is crucial if you want to combat senility. You may think that the card game requires nothing more than getting a hand as close to 21 as possible, but there is actually much more to it. Players need to understand the effect of each card towards their hand and the dealer’s hand. An experienced blackjack player would tell you that the game is not about getting the best hand; instead, the key is to get the dealer to bust, and you have to be excellent in memorisation and understanding the odds in order to do that.
Card games, in general, are brilliant mental exercises. For instance, to be a winner in poker and bingo, you need to be strategic with the ability to weigh in potential outcomes. It requires quick calculations to plan your next move. This undoubtedly sharpens your mathematical skills. Poker players have to pay a lot of attention to the cards played and observe and analyse the moves of other players. The tremendous memory work involved, such as recalling who played a hand, can keep your brain strong well into the latter years of your life.
Mental Benefit: Gambling Helps Build Relationships
Gambling can not only help to prevent brain deterioration, it is also great for bonding with others. Card games, in particular, make fun group activities that everyone will enjoy. The best thing about card games is their portability – you can just take them anywhere. Playing cards with a laid-back approach allow light-hearted conversations between players that otherwise would require more experience in other circumstances. You may be able to meet many people at a time at a party, but being social can be daunting depending on the dynamics. Card games, on the contrary, provide players with a relaxed atmosphere for socialising, and more importantly, a chance to participate in something exciting together!
Gambling can enhance our lives as long as you only gamble with the money you can afford to lose. It is fun and enjoyable if you’re not gambling with the money you need for bills and that you can live without the gambling. Unfortunately, problem gambling is an alarming issue in many countries. Researchers in the US have discovered that problem gamblers make up about 1% of the population. These people are involved in a number of problems, such as a lack of employee productivity, debts, bankruptcies, committing crimes just to have money to gamble and being dishonest to friends and family. It is also estimated that around 70% of problem gamblers suffer from other issues, with drug and alcohol abuse being a common example.
While gambling can be an incredible form of entertainment that allows you to go home safe and satisfied, it is not worth it to turn it into a dangerous product that destroys your life. For help and support, visit our Gambling Addiction page.