Chapter 2
ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF GAMBLING

ELIZABETH ELMORE


INTRODUCTION

THE subject of gambling is much discussed in the contemporary popular press and literature. The level of interest is especially keen because of the apparent worldwide trend toward the legalization of various heretofore illegal forms of wagering (1). Social scientists offer various explanations for this trend, related primarily to the individual's desire for entertainment, excitement, and risk or to the growing acceptance of the libertarian advocacy of personal as well as economic freedom (2). While this trend certainly has implications for the social, psychological, and economic fabric of society, it is the latter consideration that has been the major force behind legalization. State and local governments in the United States and abroad are attracted to legalization by the lure of revenues that the relaxation of existing prohibitions against gambling will allow. The major counterforce against legalization centers on fears of increased crime and the corresponding increased need for law enforcement that would inevitably result.

Although some would argue against legalization on purely moral grounds (not all religious leaders are agreed on this point [3]), there will be no attempt to deal with this latter position here. Rather, this chapter considers some of the economic aspects of gambling, both from a micro- and macroeconomic perspective. The first section looks at gambling from the point of view of the individual. Who is the typical gambler? Why do individuals undertake high risk wagers? These two questions are useful in addressing the related issue of the regressive effects of gambling.

The second section of the chapter shifts to aggregate aspects. We look at various forms of gambling and consider each as a

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Gambling Today
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • CONTRIBUTORS vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter 1 The Impact of Casino Gambling on a Small Town the Case of Atlantic City 3
  • References 11
  • Chapter 2 Economic Aspects of Gambling 12
  • Introduction 12
  • Conclusion 26
  • Chapter 3 Illegal Gambling a Brief Review of Law Enforcement Problems 30
  • Introduction 30
  • Conclusions 50
  • References 51
  • Chapter 4 Gamblers Disturbed or Healthy? 53
  • Abstract 68
  • References 68
  • Chapter 5 Why People Gamble - A Behavioral Perspective 71
  • References 83
  • Chapter 6 Why People Gamble a Sociological Perspective 84
  • Abstract 103
  • References 103
  • Chapter 7 The Treatment of Compulsive Gamblers 106
  • References 114
  • Chapter 8 Gamblers Anonymous 115
  • Conclusion 122
  • Appendix 124
  • Chapter 9 Gambling a British Perspective 127
  • Introduction 127
  • Conclusion 141
  • References 142
  • Author Index 143
  • SUBJECT INDEX 147
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