Economic Development of the Casino Industry: A Good Bet?
The casino industry, once a niche business taking place in a few isolated locations, operating in a quasi-novelty fashion, is today one of the fastest growing and wealthy industries in a raft of countries. This isn’t just due to the traditional bricks and mortar casinos of Vegas and Monte Carlo however, and indeed the huge growth experienced in the past few years has been also driven by the massive rise of online gambling amongst the public at large. What effects is this new growth having on countries, people and economies? Is gambling a positive industry?
Gambling has long been regarded as a root of social ills. Slot jockeys, high rollers and the like have long been targets for concerned groups and individuals who see gambling and immediately think of addiction, despite the fact that typically the rate of problem gambling is around 0.5 to 3 percent. Thankfully though even these numbers are being combated by the current industry, with all manner of safety checks and measures being employed by casino and online companies that can automatically flag up problem players and ensure they are provided with the help they need. Quite simply, the industry itself wants, and has a large impetus, to change their image for the better.
In terms of tax revenues, casinos have had a very beneficial effect on the coffers of the governments that have taken the step to legalise or promote the industry. In South Africa in 2008, the industry contributed R6 billion, a huge sum, and added R20 billion to the economy as a whole in the 2008/09 financial year. Part of this is due to the effects of online gaming; as players can play and pay any way they like, any where they like, the sheer audience of consumers who are enjoying the sites translating into massive player numbers and huge sums of money being spent. Sites like YeboYes allow users to compare the deals and prices of multiple operators at once, adding additional competitiveness into the industry and boosting it in one fell swoop. More than 90,000 people work in the industry in South Africa alone, this number growing year on year. Gambling, when conducted correctly, is a sure fire boon for economies.
As the world opens up to the notion of responsible gambling as an occasionally enjoyed pastime, the benefits of the industry will be felt far and wide, tax revenues making for boosted government finances and economic growth improving the economy and populace as a whole. Do you think gambling is beneficial? Let us in on your thoughts in the comments section.