In the United Kingdom and the Social Market Foundation public policy think-tank has announced that a reduction in the rates of problem gambling would benefit the wider economy by leading to a substantial increase in tax revenues and jobs.
The London-headquartered organization made the assertion via an official press release after conducting an investigation into the wider economic impacts of the British gambling and betting sectors. The non-partisan group detailed that the findings of its probe are contained within its Double or Nothing: Assessing the Economic Impact of Gambling paper and could help the government to formulate future policy following the conclusion of its comprehensive review into the country’s gambling market.
Scott Corfe serves as the Research Director for the Social Market Foundation and he stated that his body’s inquiry found that gaming and betting supports approximately 85,000 jobs in the United Kingdom and regularly contributes around £4.3 billion ($6 billion) in annual tax revenues. However, he declared that cash staked on such entertainment has a lower ‘multiplier’ effect because it supports less activities elsewhere due to the industry’s constrained supply chains when compared with other sectors such as retail.
As an example, Corfe explained that £1 million ($1.4 million) spent in retail would be expected to create in the region of 34 new jobs, which is a rate twice as high as that for gambling. He additionally pronounced that a 10% reduction in net industry-wide spend would actually benefit the nation’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) to the tune of approximately £311 million ($432 million) by leading to the creation of roughly 24,000 more positions.
The Social Market Foundation proclaimed that gambling and betting moreover have a relatively reduced ‘tax multiplier’ in comparison with other sectors as £1 million in net spend usually leads to tax revenues of about £500,000 ($695,000). It stated that the same amount expended in retail would benefit the public purse to the tune of at least £600,000 ($834,000) with the same 10% diminution in net spend leading to an annual windfall for the Exchequer of around £171 million ($237 million).
Although the Social Market Foundation affirmed that it does not support moves to outlaw gambling by assuming ‘a prohibitionist or excessively paternalistic’ stance, the findings of its investigation seem to fly in the face of an earlier poll conducted by the Betting and Gaming Council lobby group. Nevertheless, the organization finished by divulging that it is only interested in tackling ‘problem gambling and gambling addiction’ and making the argument via the use of evidence that the case for eliminating such menaces ‘is not just a moral one but one that would be good for the economy and good for GDP, jobs and the Exchequer.’