Gambling is one of the American people’s favorite hobbies, and the topic has amazed me since I read the book Bringing Down the House in 5th grade. On a recent college visit to California, I was surprised to learn that one course available for completing the math requirement was called “The Probability of Gambling”, and was a study of the probability behind various card games, including Texas Hold ‘em and blackjack. Gambling is also a popular venue in the media, as can be seen in popular movies such as 21 and Casino Royal. When I was younger, the concept of earning money while playing a game that I enjoyed fascinated me, but as I grew older, I realized the naivety of those beliefs. Casinos wouldn’t offer gambling if patrons were consistently putting the casinos in debt. Now, I am more interested in the effect gambling has had on society, specifically on its economic impacts. I believe that gambling has been beneficial for the US economy in the past and will continue to benefit the economy for years to come, but the stress gambling puts on society has greatly increased problems in communities with high profile gambling industries.Gambling in the Americas began when the first colonists came from England, and the Virginia Company needed a way to get some profit. They turned to a lottery, which was quite successful, except it was associated with settler’s laziness as well as the economic troubles faced by the colony. The Crown eventually shut down the lottery due to its impact on a royal lottery operated throughout the British Empire. Lotteries were used again by American colonists in an attempt to raise funds for the Revolutionary War without raising taxes. This was extremely successful, and the practice was continued into the 19th century in order to transportation improvements, especially as the Western frontier continued to gain attention and popularity. When gold was discovered in California, gambling became one of the most popular forms of entertainment for miners in the West. However, the economy slid into a recession after the gold rush, leading many people to associate gambling with economic depression. Lotteries were also becoming increasingly corrupt, with organizers fixing the results for a portion of the pot. These circumstances led to nationwide ban on gambling, with the exception being Nevada, where professional gamblers would flock to from across the country to create the foundation for modern day Las Vegas.The ban on gambling didn’t last long, as the Great Depression forced government leaders to revoke the ban in an attempt to stimulate the faltering economy. Gambling once again grew in popularity, although it only increased the divide between the rich and the poor due to the uneven payoff associated with casino gambling. State lotteries became popular during the Cold War, especially when Reagan became president, because he cut national funding for key aspects of the country such as education and Medicare in order to fund the war against the USSR. Tribal gambling also began to grow in popularity during this time, due to state’s inability to regulate prize money on reservations. Instead of going to state run lotteries or gambling locations, locals and tourists alike would flock to the reservations in the hopes of winning it all, although this rarely ever occurred. These various aspects of gambling have steadily become more popular, with casinos and lotteries providing support for various state economies.Gambling provides two main benefits to states: casinos bring in tourists while also paying tax to the state for gambling revenues. An influx of tourists means money flows into the state economy without any significant loss of money due to the low odds of winning at casinos. The state gets even more money from gambling because casinos are forced to pay a tax on all revenue earned, with tax revenue almost reaching $1 billion dollars in Nevada. The gambling industry has also created more than 500,000 jobs, lowering unemployment throughout the nation. However, gambling isn’t perfect, and there are other statistics that paint a much more worrisome picture about the industry.Crime seems to be strongly correlated to gambling, with cities introducing casinos seeing an increase of over 50% in crime rates. This forces states to spend more on the police force, diverting funding away from other projects in an attempt to combat a problem caused by gambling. Organized crime is also a very common issue due to the large amount of cash flowing in and out of casinos each day. Problem gambling also becomes a much larger issue when casinos are present, which in turn leads to a higher crime rate when people need to pay off gambling debt. There are some detrimental aspects of gambling in society, but for the most part, the gambling industry has helped keep the American economy from slumping.After reviewing the various statistics from my research, I believe that gambling has been beneficial for America. Whenever the country has faced economic hardship, gambling has been promoted or legalized to bolster a weak economy. Not only does it have a positive influence on the economy, but I believe that gambling also benefits the American people. Card games such as poker and blackjack are universal and can help bring people together in social environments. In a few short months, I will be able to legally experience the large attraction gambling has to a large number of Americans. Although there are some harmful side effects of gambling, these are outweighed by the benefit that the industry has displayed throughout history.
It is a well-known fact that New Zealand has a burgeoning gambling market. Thanks to pokies and other electronic gaming devices, a vast portion of the population takes place in gambling activities every year. While the activity is incredibly popular throughout the country, few studies have been conducted which truly examine gambling behaviour and statistics. Recently, a new study has shed light on the issue, delving into demographics in the country’s gambling market.A study titled “New Zealand’s Participation in Gambling” was recently published by the Health Sponsorship Council. The research aimed to obtain more information on the risk of developing gambling problems and overall frequency of participation by New Zealand citizens.According to the study, most New Zealanders take part in high-risk forms of gambling less frequently. Less than 20% of participants admitted to playing pokies in a club over the course of a 12 month period. 10% played pokies in casinos while just 3% played table games at casinos. These statistics confirm that pokies continue to be the preferred activity of players in New Zealand, illustrating that club pokies are still more popular than casino pokies.Lottery and scratch cards are more frequent forms of gambling among residents, as 60% of individuals take part in these activities. The study also found that older individuals are more likely to take part in these activities than their younger counterparts. 72% of those over the age of 45 take part in lottery activities while just 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds play lottery games.A surprising finding uncovered by the study is that women seem to be more likely than men to take part in gambling activities. Women outnumbered men in a wide range of activities, including the lottery, instant Kiwi and raffles. However, men were more likely to take part in casual wagers with friends, casino table games and sports betting. Both groups presented similar statistics for bingo games and New Zealand online casino games.The number of individuals who refrain from gambling activities is also quite interesting. 20% of men do not gamble, compared to just 18% of women. The age group 18 – 24 is the least likely take part in gambling, despite casino operators’ efforts to draw in a younger crowd. As such, individuals over the age of 45 are the most likely to gamble. When it comes to ethnicities, Asians are the least likely to gamble (with 38% refraining from the activity) while those of Maori descent are most likely to take part in gambling activities (80%).