Reframing Health Behavior: Change with Behavioral Economics

By Warren K. Bickel; Rudy E. Vuchinich | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELV E
Gambling in Socioeconomic Perspective

Patrick M. Ghezzi University of Nevada

Charles A. Lyons Eastern Oregon University

Mark R. Dixon University of Nevada

Ah, I have a premonition--I can't miss! . . . why am I such an irresponsible infant? Can't I see that I am a doomed man? But why can't I come back to life? All I have to do is be calculating and patient once, and I'll make it! I have to bold out for just one hour, and then my whole life will be different.

-- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Gambler

Gambling long has been a favorite national pastime, but lately it has become a national obsession. Casino gambling was limited in 1988 to Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey; today, there are 27 states (and the District of Columbia) and three territories that have legalized, through statutes or tribal contracts, casino gambling. At present, 48 of the 50 states ( Hawaii and Utah are exceptions) sanction some form of intra- or interstate gambling, including parimutuel wagering on horses and dogs, charity betting, lotteries, bingo, cards, sports, pull-tabs, and scratch tickets. Hundreds of "virtual casinos" and other sites are available on the Internet, and for those who can't leave home without it, gambling is now available on international airline flights.

Our contribution to this volume examines gambling phenomena from a socioeconomic perspective, that is to say, we treat gambling at the aggregate or group level, focusing primarily on buyers and sellers interacting in and with an economic environment. The buyers are the gambling public, and the sellers are the state-sponsored, publicly owned, and privately held entities that offer legal games-the gaming industry. At the center of the interactions

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