Since time immemorial, human beings have started indulging in formatted games of chance or gambling as they are more formally known there is not a single society or culture which has not experienced the over-whelming influence this game had on shaping its thoughts, beliefs and course of events.
For people indulging in these games it elevated to a special significance, moving from merely being a game to a passion, an indulgence that consummated their senses, their decisions and even their existence.
As far as India is concerned, if mythology is to be believed, we had more then requisite share of gambling affecting our socio-economic as well as political order. Pundits still argue that Mahabharata was nothing but the second stage of what was initially a mere board game with dice.
Entire kingdoms, valor, pride and even modesty were hedged as a bet that eventually changed the face of Aryan superiority in the great Indian sub-continent. Then there is reference to Raja Nala of yore (of Nal-dayamanti fame) who also felled prey to the temptation of the dice.
So, gambling in whatever format has often left a sinister scar on the face of humanity. Though that is changing as of now but whatever the case may be the influence of gambling has often been undeniable.
The social and economic impact of gambling has attracted lots of research primarily because they were needed to bolster the arguments of two groups which are very polarized in their opinion as to the influence of gambling.
Those who consider gambling a serious ill argues that gambling is an unproductive pursuit. It is a sterile activity that offers no productive value, creates no output, no money or goods are generated though considerable time and resources are absorbed in the same.
Though they forget that the same logic can be applied to Disneyland, movie and other such pursuits whose sole purpose is providing recreation and any economist worth his salt will vouch that recreation is a very important activity for any thriving economy.
There are others who will still maintain that gambling as a habit often comes riding on with many other behavioral disorders, a situation termed as Co-morbidity that creates strong economical disorders pertaining to an individual pushing him to bankruptcy or worse still to a life of crime but alas!
There is still no conclusive research that will prove any correlation between gambling and bankruptcy or for that matter with any tangible consequence.
On the other hand are those who argue with facts and figures as to how legalized gambling over a period of time has resurrected the fortunes of many a dwindling economies and save the citizens of sure bankruptcy.
Casinos being highly labor intensive creates increased employment opportunities for the population around them. Facilities are built and supplementary businesses have a field day catering to the gambling tourists.
The whole economy gets a boost up and millions of dollars are paid simply as tax revenues from these gambling havens. This all is done through the cash that has been attracted from outside the economy resulting in an overall profit. Las Vegas is the perfect example of such a booming economy that has turned the whole city into one giant casino and emerged as the entertainment capital of the world.
Then economists also point out that there is the satisfaction of people who always wanted to gamble and in legalized economy can now gamble. This satisfaction is of paramount importance in economy and is termed as Consumer Surplus, a term that can be in theory computed for its dollar value.