Betting: an Economic or Recreational Act?

Over the past decade or so, betting has taken root across the countries, and even where it was earlier considered a taboo, like in Africa, it is now accepted and no longer shrouded in secrecy. For some today, gambling is a career, and for many economies, it actually contributes massively to the employment sector.

Just to put things in context, gambling, or betting, is quite popular among adults and research has shown that the more the ages advance, the bigger the popularity of betting. However, there is an ever-growing thin line between betting as a recreational activity or as an economic activity, among the betting constituencies.

How then, one would ask, do you identify the differences between the two? It is easier to debunk this by assessing the effects of gambling. A lot of harm has been reported over the past years, that is related to betting, but at the same time, there have been cases of big winners. The difference is we don’t hear of very many big winners, while the losers will rarely come out and declare.

There are also a lot of reports about betting-related problems and this is the most economical. Someone betting, who has no gambling-related problems, can be said to be doing it as a recreational activity. Those that experience social, financial and health changes due to betting can be said to be doing it for economic purposes.

Whichever direction it takes, whether recreational or otherwise, the one thing we will all agree on is that there has been heavy investment in the betting industry in recent years and some of the best international sports betting sites have been developed, a number of them highlighted and previewed on SportyTrader. They include Bet365, 1XBet, Shangrila, and many more.

The fact that betting entails constant expenditure with hope and expectations of a win makes such analysis about the effects of gambling be looked at with a negative lens. A lot of research done about the impact of betting is largely focused on the negative effect. Governments pick this up and create laws framing betting as harmful and thus introduce punitive tax regimes around it.

To that extent, and with addiction in mind, betting serves the economic needs of the government but it becomes a dent to what the gambler might want to look at as a recreational activity. To state that gambling has little or no role in the economy is missing the point by a wide mark. Gambling provides jobs, given the commercial need for intensive labor at casinos, for example.

Some areas like Las Vegas have been able to grow because of the culture, which banks heavily on gambling. Thriving casinos mean jobs for waiters, and drivers and the demand for goods and services in an economy. The money raised from such ventures goes back into the economy and fuels growth.

At the height of the Covid-19 crisis, one of the hardest hit industries was betting, as not many games were being played and as we assess the ravages of the pandemic, it will be key to note that with Covid a lot of jobs were lost. Companies had to be creative with their markets to avoid a complete shutdown, and in the end, provided recreational activities that kept gamblers busy during the Covid period.

The key to responsible betting is to recognize the limits. A lot of betting companies have a policy on this, but it is about the gambler knowing when to stop, and defining the purpose of betting. When it becomes an addiction, there is a high chance it will end in trouble.

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