The media is always full of doom and gloom stories about problem gambling, but are there any benefits to gambling at all? Results from The Productivity Commission’s Report into gambling found some interesting benefits of gambling – when done so responsibly.
The report found that gambling has shown to provide significant enjoyment for many Australians, and has proven to be an important revenue source for governments. Many gambling venues are often seen to be friendly, secure and accessible to people in the community. Gambling venues, particularly clubs, also make significant social contributions.
Although while the gambling industry accentuates the social and employment benefits of gambling, the most important benefits are gains to consumers. Many people enjoy gambling and the associated activities in the venues where it takes place.
Prohibition would be likely to erode people’s freedom and would risk the criminality and corruption associated with the provision of illicit gambling. This provides the rationale for one of the most important policy stances of Government in relation to gambling — simply allowing it to be legally supplied in a responsible manner.
Australians spend billions on gambling across all of its multiple forms, the simplest indicator of the collectively high value they place on it. While people express ambivalence about gambling, that does not usually relate to their own gambling, this generally does not relate to their own gambling habits. Australians do gamble to some degree, with the exceptions of those with control problems or significant faulty cognitions, people’s willingness to pay for gambling over alternative products reveals their underlying preferences.
This willingness of the Australian community to partake in legal forms of gambling, and do so in a harmless manner, only benefits the industry in a positive manner – providing revenue and good standing for the Industry and Government, and providing entertainment and enjoyment for the patrons. The number one thing to remember is to Game responsibly. Without measures in place to aid those with control issues or significant faculty cognitions, the gaming enjoyed by the majority can fall into a harmful category.