The Social Costs of Casino Gambling


From the glittering Las Vegas Strip to the illegal pai gow tables in New York City’s Chinatown, casinos are places where people bet money and play games of chance. Some of these games have a slight element of skill, but most are pure luck. People who gamble in casinos often win big, but they also lose a lot of money. Some people are addicted to gambling and spend far more than they can afford to lose, which reduces the casino’s profits and often destroys local economies.

Many casinos offer free spectacular entertainment and hotel rooms for major winners. They also give out gifts, drinks and cigarettes while patrons are gambling. Some even have restaurants and other nongambling attractions.

The casino industry is growing at an astounding rate. By 2025, it could be worth more than $125 billion.

While most people who visit casinos are tourists, there are some casino enthusiasts who live near casinos. These people are referred to as locals, and they are important because they generate most of the profits for the casinos. Locals spend more than visitors do on food and beverages, and they also make purchases in other stores. However, research indicates that gambling addicts tend to deprive the local economy by shifting spending away from other sources of entertainment and causing a loss in productivity. In fact, some studies show that compulsive gambling actually reverses the economic gains made by casinos. Therefore, locals should be cautious about supporting casinos and should be aware that the social costs of gambling are significant.