Gambling is a polarizing theme. There are always those who think gambling should be unlawful, but that can cause more problems than it solves. After all, gambling had been illegal – and still is, in some places – for quite a while, and it still found its place in illegal gambling dens run by criminal elements. Because of that, there are many benefits of legalized gambling, and turning it into a regulated market.
Player Security and Safety
Prohibiting an activity isn’t always the best way to prevent harm. On the contrary, an individual that wants to gamble will find a venue that will allow them to do so. These venues have no regulations, nor are they interested in protecting their customers from compulsive gambling.
With criminals running games, you can’t count on them having fair odds. Many players would lose their life savings if there weren’t any rules and regulations. The legalization of gambling provides a safe environment for players, where only licensed casinos can enjoy the opportunities of the gambling market.
Tax and Job Benefits
Gambling taxes can be a great source of government revenue. Most often, countries tax casinos’ gross gaming revenue (GGR) or their net profits. However, it’s not uncommon to have a flat tax fee in addition to gambling license costs. Gambling winnings may also be subject to taxation, depending on where you live, even if you’ve been lucky on online poker sites.
Taxes also depend on the source of revenue. For example, in New York state, 37% to 45% of GGR from slot machines goes to the government, and just 10% of GGR from all other sources.
Legalizing gambling creates funds that can contribute to important projects: New Hampshire invests the gambling tax in gambling addiction services and Education Trust Fund, while New Jersey supports various health and human services programs. With the increasing popularity of online gambling, US casino websites provide a great additional tax revenue source.
The gambling industry also brings along jobs: Data collected by Statista shows that in Nevada alone, there were more than 400,000 jobs in commercial casinos. Job opportunities include many different positions besides card dealers, slot attendants, pit clerks, and cashiers.
Gambling destinations are popular among tourists and can be pretty profitable – just in May 2021, Nevada has earned a record-breaking $1.23 billion. The benefits of legalized gambling for tourism are more than apparent. Locations like Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, and Macau are famous for their casinos and are essential sources of income for their local and state governments.
Millions of tourists visit these locations, including families on vacations, party-goers, or destination wedding guests. Besides the casino infrastructure, which practically always includes hotels and restaurants, other local businesses benefit from the influx of tourists.
Furthermore, the gambling industry impacts jobs provided by businesses like bars, restaurants, and shopping malls. However, legalizing gambling does have pros and cons.
Gambling is fun and exciting, but like any similar activity, it can be addictive. Even if gambling is made illegal, it would still present a problem to anyone who came across it. On the other hand, while decriminalizing other vices such as drugs is still under public debate, it seems evident that legalizing gambling has some advantages.
Regulations provide advantages that help protect players from gambling addiction. Regulating the industry and using the funds it supplies can help mitigate some of the risks.
Oddly enough, one of the benefits of legal gambling is that it’s much easier for players to find help for their addiction. Not having gamblers stigmatized because of their issues, especially when seeking assistance, helps a lot. Countries that have comprehensive gambling laws also provide counseling for that.
In the UK, GAMSTOP assists players with restricting their gambling activity. In the US, some of the best NJ sports betting websites integrate self-regulation features and include contacts for organizations that can help players combat their addiction. The dangers of irresponsible wagering are prominently featured on most online casino pages, too.
We’ve seen that legalized gambling has both pros and cons. Regulating it can provide significant economic benefit for the local community, create job openings, provide safety in handling games, and ensure that they are fair. The biggest con is that legalizing something does make it more accessible, and gambling is inherently addictive. What’s more, exposure to gambling ads from a young age may make children and young adults more likely to gamble or have gambling problems.
However, with proper regulations, the advantages of gambling being legalized outweigh most of the downsides.