Economic Effect of Gambling in the US

Gambling is one of the American people’s favorite hobbies, and the topic has amazed me since I read the book Bringing Down the House in 5th grade. On a recent college visit to California, I was surprised to learn that one course available for completing the math requirement was called “The Probability of Gambling”, and was a study of the probability behind various card games, including Texas Hold ‘em and blackjack. Gambling is also a popular venue in the media, as can be seen in popular movies such as 21 and Casino Royal. When I was younger, the concept of earning money while playing a game that I enjoyed fascinated me, but as I grew older, I realized the naivety of those beliefs. Casinos wouldn’t offer gambling if patrons were consistently putting the casinos in debt. Now, I am more interested in the effect gambling has had on society, specifically on its economic impacts. I believe that gambling has been beneficial for the US economy in the past and will continue to benefit the economy for years to come, but the stress gambling puts on society has greatly increased problems in communities with high profile gambling industries.

Gambling in the Americas began when the first colonists came from England, and the Virginia Company needed a way to get some profit. They turned to a lottery, which was quite successful, except it was associated with settler’s laziness as well as the economic troubles faced by the colony. The Crown eventually shut down the lottery due to its impact on a royal lottery operated throughout the British Empire. Lotteries were used again by American colonists in an attempt to raise funds for the Revolutionary War without raising taxes. This was extremely successful, and the practice was continued into the 19th century in order to transportation improvements, especially as the Western frontier continued to gain attention and popularity. When gold was discovered in California, gambling became one of the most popular forms of entertainment for miners in the West. However, the economy slid into a recession after the gold rush, leading many people to associate gambling with economic depression. Lotteries were also becoming increasingly corrupt, with organizers fixing the results for a portion of the pot. These circumstances led to nationwide ban on gambling, with the exception being Nevada, where professional gamblers would flock to from across the country to create the foundation for modern day Las Vegas.

The ban on gambling didn’t last long, as the Great Depression forced government leaders to revoke the ban in an attempt to stimulate the faltering economy. Gambling once again grew in popularity, although it only increased the divide between the rich and the poor due to the uneven payoff associated with casino gambling. State lotteries became popular during the Cold War, especially when Reagan became president, because he cut national funding for key aspects of the country such as education and Medicare in order to fund the war against the USSR. Tribal gambling also began to grow in popularity during this time, due to state’s inability to regulate prize money on reservations. Instead of going to state run lotteries or gambling locations, locals and tourists alike would flock to the reservations in the hopes of winning it all, although this rarely ever occurred. These various aspects of gambling have steadily become more popular, with casinos and lotteries providing support for various state economies.

Gambling provides two main benefits to states: casinos bring in tourists while also paying tax to the state for gambling revenues. An influx of tourists means money flows into the state economy without any significant loss of money due to the low odds of winning at casinos. The state gets even more money from gambling because casinos are forced to pay a tax on all revenue earned, with tax revenue almost reaching $1 billion dollars in Nevada. The gambling industry has also created more than 500,000 jobs, lowering unemployment throughout the nation. However, gambling isn’t perfect, and there are other statistics that paint a much more worrisome picture about the industry.

Crime seems to be strongly correlated to gambling, with cities introducing casinos seeing an increase of over 50% in crime rates. This forces states to spend more on the police force, diverting funding away from other projects in an attempt to combat a problem caused by gambling. Organized crime is also a very common issue due to the large amount of cash flowing in and out of casinos each day. Problem gambling also becomes a much larger issue when casinos are present, which in turn leads to a higher crime rate when people need to pay off gambling debt. There are some detrimental aspects of gambling in society, but for the most part, the gambling industry has helped keep the American economy from slumping.

After reviewing the various statistics from my research, I believe that gambling has been beneficial for America. Whenever the country has faced economic hardship, gambling has been promoted or legalized to bolster a weak economy. Not only does it have a positive influence on the economy, but I believe that gambling also benefits the American people. Card games such as poker and blackjack are universal and can help bring people together in social environments. In a few short months, I will be able to legally experience the large attraction gambling has to a large number of Americans. Although there are some harmful side effects of gambling, these are outweighed by the benefit that the industry has displayed throughout history.

Traditional Gambling Versus Online Gambling

An Overview

Gambling nowadays is not related to a mere recreation activity albeit it has now taken a new direction into business and industry. For some it’s a pleasure activity and for the others it is a lucrative business. Although gambling is not at all a new sport which has emerged in this century, it has been a favorite of our ancestors and the historians date back the involvement into this activity to prehistoric times. It has been factually proved that even the early caveman was a gambler.

Gambling to a layman would mean sport involving money and an easy way to multiply the same. Although being a part f this sport means staking of one thing or the other. History has witnessed several incidents where not only wealth and material objects were a part of this game but also one’s own identity or the ownership of a family member was staked.

Gambling activity in this century has taken a two dimensional outlook. With high paced lives and scarcity of time for almost everything, even recreation activities are time bound. To this new age life, Internet comfortably snuggles in and creates a position of its own, thus giving room to Online Gambling. As compared to traditional gambling practices where one has to be physically available in the arena of casino, online gambling gives us the comfort of gambling in the privacy of our homes or café.

To further elaborate on both the categories of gambling lets have a closer look into the basic features of both. Traditional gambling basically has three types of games involved namely the table games, random games and gaming machines. Almost all the categories in traditional gambling requires parting with physical cash and getting them converted into chips which are of various denominations and are then further used in the game. The only division of game which does not require conversion of cash into chips is that of slot machines. Here the gambler has to place a quarter into the slot machine and pull on the lever. There are still some games where cash is deposited, but that is mainly confined to games which involve huge jackpots. Generally in such games the basic deposit only sums up to a huge amounts.

Online gambling, on the other hand, is a relatively comfortable way of enjoying the game. Needless to say the reason for its manifold popularity goes to the time factor and the availability of pleasure at the click of a button. Moreover, in order to attract more and more people into online gambling the owners make their sites tempting by offering various payback schemes and added advantages to its members. All sorts of games can be selected by just logging on the website. Basically the games available in this form of gambling can be broadly divided into two categories, one in which a particular software needs to be downloaded and the other which can be played without it as well.

Comparative Analysis of Traditional Gambling and Online Gambling

Although online gambling is gaining momentum, traditional gambling is still the undisputed leader in the business. There are pros and cons in both forms of gambling and it depends upon the personal liking of each gambler as to which form suits his or her requirement.

In traditional gambling where one can find the adrenaline rising and pressure on one’s nerves, the same is a miss in online gambling to some extent. The pleasure of winning and celebrating can be only enjoyed in the traditional gambling. The drive behind playing it again and again lies in winning and celebrating, thus giving instant boost in business of the casino owners. Winning of one motivates thousands others to remain in the game. Thus if we see the involvement, pleasure and financial aspect of gambling, no doubt traditional gambling would take a lead into it.

Online gambling, on the other hand, suits one and all to the extent of people residing in remote areas where availability of an actual casino is a miss. All it requires is a basic internet connection and you are into the pleasure of the sport. It gives you the leverage of time and space. Another advantage of online gambling can be that one can enjoy huge payouts and bonuses, but along with it the companies keep a catch of not paying the entire earned amount in order to make the gambler play for long. The reason for making a player gamble for longer durations is that generally the longer you play the chances of you losing increase, thereby making the casino owners reap higher profit margins.

In terms of business traditional gambling is favorable to the casino owners. They have all the tools and tactics available to make a gambler play and stay for long which in turn means that the odds increase in the favour of casino owners. But for a gambler, traditional form of gambling may be of loss at times as the earnings are lesser than the actual amount earned. Generally the payouts are in terms of 5 or 6 times the actual amount put at stake but the casinos pay out lesser and so results in visible loss.

Conclusion

Gambling in the eyes of gambler has its own dimensions which cannot be gauged by the critics. Form of gambling may have difference of opinions but the ultimate pleasure of sport cannot be undermined in either form of gambling.

On the other hand gambling as a line of business may mean totally different to the casino owners. They would have an altogether different stream of thoughts to analyze the two forms of gambling.

To sum up, both the forms of gambling have their own set of advantages and disadvantages and none of it can be said to be perfect. It totally depends upon the individual to choose from the options available which can satiate his or her desire.

The only common thing in both the streams is to set up individual limits and to keep his or her decisive powers strong so as to know when to draw the line.

Repercussions of Gambling

Ever played poker? Roulette perhaps? Have you ever wagered money when playing? Then, in fact, you have gambled. Gambling is when you wage money for something even when you do not know what the outcome will be. However, gambling seems to be a part of quite a number of people’s lives. It has become a habit, worse, even a psychological problem.

For someone who gambles for the first time, it may not be hard to get out of it. Once you win something by doing it, you may want to try it the second time. When you get the hang of gambling, you will probably want to do it again. The next thing you know, you become unconsciously addicted to it. Even when you wish to stop, there is nothing you can do.

Ludomania is known as the impulse or itch to gamble even when you know its’ corresponding implications. This however is just a minor difficulty. Severe cases actually nod into the direction of a mental disorder. It is called pathological gambling. One is considered to be a pathological gambler if one is preoccupied with gambling all the time and that is mainly all he thinks about. He tends to imagine when he will be playing again in the future or thinks about the game he played yesterday.

When someone tries to recover from gambling problems and still resorts to gambling, then it is also considered pathological gambling. It is also when someone considers gambling as an escape from reality – a sort of a makeshift world when he can be himself at least for that moment to break away from his realities.

One of the most common symptoms is the need to gamble more. When you lose a game, thus losing money, you have the urge to get it back and start gambling again. It is a never ending difficulty to those who are hooked on gambling.

Consequently, one now has a hard time controlling his gambling habit. This loss of control will eventually lead to deceit to his family and friends.

When gambling becomes so much of a habit, one may consider doing illegal acts. The need to gamble more when you lose money could lead to stealing money to recover your losses. Sometimes, one would resort to fraud. Forgery is also common when someone uses someone else’s signature especially in writing checks for him to continue gambling.

Risking his relationship just for gambling is also a symptom. When he continues to gamble even when it compromises his time away from his wife or kids is a serious problem. This could lead to divorce. This also could involve missing work as a result of being in a game instead of at work.

Another symptom is when he relies so much on his family or friends for money. When he is losing money because of gambling, he could resort to borrowing money from his family, friends, even a financial institution that could result in bankruptcy.

Gambling will become serious if not given proper attention. When this becomes a habit, it becomes a hindrance to your relationships with others, especially with your family. When this becomes severe, you should go to counseling to counteract your gambling problems. Have someone to talk to. Your family can be of help because they are your first line of defense against gambling. But most importantly, discipline should begin with you. There is nobody who can help but you alone. Remember that too much gambling can make your life miserable, so avoid excess gambling.