The Hummingbird Blog

A Series of Insights Into Savings, Personal Finance and Behavioural Science
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Part 2 - Why Do People Gamble?

On the surface, gambling seems to be counterintuitive. After all, the likelihood of losing one’s money in exchange for nothing is quite high. Moreover, it seems that most games of chance are set up in such a way that players don’t have any reasonable opportunity to win. If players did have a reasonable chance of winning, then the potential profits to organizers would be far lower.

Still, there is a considerable rise in gambling activity, as evidenced by data. Recent data indicates that 46% of adults in the UK have engaged in some form of gambling in the last four weeks. Plus, the average expenditure on gambling activities totals £2.57 per week on an annual average of about £133. That may not seem like a lot on the surface, but it certainly adds up when you multiply that over the number of people who engage in gambling activities. This same data reports a total of 28% of Brits taking part in the National Lottery.

In general, the gambling industry represents £14.5 billion annually while employing roughly 106,000 people. So, in economic terms, it’s actually had a positive effect on the British economy. It not only generates jobs, but it also generates tax revenues, which are then reinvested into public spending.

That seems rather positive, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s also worth considering that gambling addiction costs the UK £1.2 billion annually. Here is where the problem begins to surface. What appears to be an innocent game may eventually degenerate into an addiction. This addiction then becomes an uncontrollable situation that threatens the livelihood of whoever gets caught in it.

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