OK, I admit it, casinos haven’t done nearly as much for us as the Romans have done for us – no flashy straight roads or clean water. The Romans even brought us the word “casino“, sort of. It’s an Italian word but has Latin roots. But just as the Romans were disliked by the People’s Front of Judea, casinos get a bad press too.
Lately, there’s been a huge push for stronger legislation and increasing awareness of the problems that gambling causes. You can’t even come to a simple online casino portal without being bombarded by messages about gambling addiction and how to curb problem behaviour…
…BUT that’s a one-sided view of it. Few things in life are so black-and-white as to be all good and all bad. I’ve already talked about some of the ways that sports betting can help improve our Maths skills, but are there any other benefits to gambling, and specifically casinos?
Yes, yes there are. Below, I’ve used the Gambling Commission’s Industry Statistics (Nov 2019) to highlight some of the ways that the gambling industry benefits us.
Casinos contribute a lot of money to the economy
From October 2018 to September 2019, the gross gambling yield (GGY) for the gambling industry was £14.3bn. GGY is the amount of money that a casino retains after it has collected its money and paid out all winnings but before its paid its overheads.
Of this £14.3bn, a significant proportion goes to running costs, which includes tax liabilities (including PAYE, VAT, and Corporation Tax), salaries, rent, utilities, etc., all of which support the economy and society as a whole.
Casinos provide large-scale employment
Although it’s nowhere near the largest employer of people, the gambling industry employed nearly 100,000 people in the period. I’m not sure how well these jobs will fare in the coming months because the bookmakers and brick-and-mortar casinos employ a large proportion of this workforce, but let’s hope the online casinos fill the gap.
Casinos help keep the high streets alive
It’s common for people to say that the high streets are dying, but the truth is that they’re just changing form. The internet means that we no longer shop traditionally. But the decimation of the high street is somewhat offset by the replacement of traditional shops with entertainment venues, such as cafes, escape rooms, and betting shops.
From October 2018 to September 2019, there were 9,475 gambling premises in the UK. There are 1,186 towns in the UK (sort of – the ONS don’t have a strict definition of “town”, so this is urban areas with a population fo 5,000 to 225,000), so you can understand how common casinos and betting shops are to our high streets.
Casinos are fun!
And let’s not forget that, for the vast majority of people, a night in the casino is a lot of fun. It’s something that anyone who gambles from time-to-time should experience at least once. Just be aware of some of the tricks they use to keep you longer and to squeeze out more money, and you’ll be fine. It’s important to do things that are fun, especially now.