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By Akira Takayama

An obtainable advent to the analytical origin of economics

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78 million for Illinois for 1995. These few examples alone illustrate the variation across studies. See Grinols and Mustard (2001) for the results from a host of studies on the net impact of casinos. Here we will not attempt to unravel the empirical 40 Gaming in the New Market Environment studies in order to identify the factors which account for this variation. It is sufficient to say that a lack of agreement in what constitutes a social cost is a primary factor. Therefore, it seems more fruitful to ask how far the theoretical literature can help in clearing up some of the confusion associated with the determination of the social costs and benefit associated with gambling.

Economists might respond to this by suggesting that they suffer from bounded rationality17 and fail to consider or understand the full consequences of their expenditure. Collins and Lapsley (2003) make a similar point but refer to individuals as having a lack of information and not being fully informed about the probability of becoming addicted and the consequences of addiction – an asymmetric information problem. However, even accepting this explanation, one still faces the challenge of understanding why some individuals experience bounded rationality (or asymmetric information) whilst others, recreational gamblers, do not (or have full information).

There are few industries (tobacco and alcohol included) which not only have to face the daily struggle to earn a profit but also have to fight to justify their very existence. In this chapter we will try to unravel some of these often emotive issues and examine the link between gambling and welfare. We will critically appraise different measures of welfare and existing studies that attempt to measure welfare effects. We will consider the consequences/impacts of the expanding gaming market on individual and social welfare.

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