The Benefits and Costs of Gambling


Gambling is the act of betting on something that can result in a gain or a loss. It is a risky activity and can be addictive.

Social Benefits of Gambling

Gamblers can meet new people, make friends and create relationships over their passion for gambling. Regular gambling can also help people learn personal accountability and responsibility.

Economic Benefits of Gambling

Legalized and regulated gambling can generate revenue for the government, which can be used to improve infrastructure, health systems or education. It can also provide jobs in the gambling industry, for example, bookmakers, horse race trainers, jockeys and racing stewards.

Benefits of Gambling to the Community

In some areas, local governments have embraced casino gambling as a means to increase tourism and stimulate local economies. They say the arrival of a casino generates economic benefits for the local community, such as new jobs, increased spending power and social services.

Policymakers must assess the benefits versus costs of gambling. They must determine whether the net increases in income and well-being from gambling are worth the social costs of problem or pathological gamblers who cause damage to their families, to their employers and to the community as a whole.

Benefit-cost analysis is a complex and often imprecise way of evaluating gambling’s impact on the economy. It can be a useful tool to help communities evaluate the economic benefits and costs of legalized gambling, but it can be difficult to apply when measuring intangible social costs like emotional pain and other losses from family members and employees who become problem or pathological gamblers.