The Link between Economic Downturns and Gambling Addictions

The Link between Economic Downturns and Gambling Addictions

Gambling is usually one of the first things to get criticized whenever there is an economic downturn and for the most part this is to be expected. Gambling is one of the few institutions within the economy that has been fair game for targeted criticism throughout its entire life cycle, even when the criticism being leveled against it is for the most part quite unfair.

A good example of this is in New Jersey, one of the states in the USA. New Jersey is a state that is home to many of the world’s biggest casinos and many of the world’s biggest state lotteries. For this reason, both residents of the state and visitors to it have a chance to make gambling a very large part of their experience and for some people that are living in the state, this is exactly what they do.

For such people, economic downturns represent something very bad because it enhances their gambling problem if they have one or has the potential to create a gambling problem if they do not have one as of yet. Economic downturns can make family budgets a lot harder to deal with and of course those family budgets can be a lot harder to deal with than is normal in an economic downturn if a lot of people end up gambling their money away in casinos or state lotteries. It is a very serious problem and one that has had gambling officials in the area concerned for some time now.

The hotline that deals with gambling problems in the state has reported that approximately 30% of the people that called in said that they were having problems with gambling in casinos, while another 12% said they were having problems with playing state lotteries too much. Furthermore, 13% were having problems either with betting too much on sports (7%) or horse races (6%), both of which are betting environments that are readily available online even if a person is not in close proximity to a casino that has a sportsbook inside.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being concerned about problem gambling and according to most analysts within the industry the people that work to curb problem gambling in New Jersey have done a very admirable job. However, according to gambling activists, the people in New Jersey also have a way of conflating problem gamblers with the gambling population at large. This conflation has led to the curbing of gambling activities for everyone both in the state and federally with legislation like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

As proof of this, activists put forth a number quoted by the Council of Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey. This number states that approximately 300,000 people in the state have a problem with gambling, which works out to about 3% of the state population. There is no way of knowing how many people in the state gamble, but according to activists that number is irrelevant since the CCGNJ is primarily concerned with people that have not been able to lay off gambling. When it is phrased like this, gambling activists in the state argue that punishing the 97% to assist the 3% is not particularly good policy.

July 11, 2011 by : posted in Industry and Economy No Comments