How does gambling help to improve the economy?
Since the recession, Britain has seen more and more casinos pop up around the country in an attempt to boost the economy. While the popularity of casinos is a relatively new trend in the UK, other countries around the world have already seen how gambling can improve the economy.
Gambling has been used as economy booster for centuries. Way back in 1850, gambling was legalised in Macau and licensed gambling houses had to pay rent to the government. Macau has been nicknamed the ‘Monte Carlo of the orient’ and during the 1990s, almost 45% of the government’s revenue came from gambling taxes. Tax is one of the main reasons gambling helps the economy- the money can be used by the government to improve education and healthcare.
Casinos also improve unemployment rates, both in the building stage and once the casino has been completed, creating jobs for: contractors, builders, electricians, plumbers, waitresses and managers.
Many casino are also known for giving back to the community directly. Let’s take Gala Casino in Hull, UK, for example. In January 2013 they announced they would be supporting The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) charity. Over the course of the year they have been working on several fundraising activities for the charity.
In the US, places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, where gambling has been legal for decades have become casino meccas, drawing in tourists from all over the world and generating huge revenues. Last year, the annual revenue from gambling in Las Vegas was over $6 billion and in Atlantic City it was over $3 billion.
In areas where the economy is struggling, casinos can inject new life and commerce. As well as the casino themselves, local retailers benefit from more business. Large casino companies also invest in the areas they build casinos in, to improve the infrastructure and make the location more desirable to visitors.
After World War II, Atlantic City became an impoverished, corrupt city and many of its once grand hotels closed down. The city was in a worrying economic decline until gambling was legalised in 1976 in an effort to revitalise the place. Casinos opened up all around the city and by 1989, it was the most popular holiday destination in America according to Time Magazine.
All in all, casinos are a proven way to bring new life to struggling communities. Unemployment rates drop and investors flock to pour money into local facilities and businesses. As Britain continues to open up more casinos, only time will tell which city is destined to become the UK’s answer to Las Vegas. (Journalists have already drawn comparisons between Northern seaside resort Blackpool and Atlantic City).