Gambling – A Healthy Bet
As a gambling consultancy, it is no surprise that GBGC believes that gambling is not only an enjoyable activity but also one that is good for us. GBGC has long argued that humans are naturally risk takers and, based on our five decades’ experience of running betting shops, that engaging in sports betting helps keep the brain stimulated, as well as being a sociable pastime. Now, it seems, we weren’t entirely wrong in our unscientific opinions. 

Dr Patrick Basham and John Luik of the Democracy Institute have published a new book entitled Gambling – A Healthy Bet which proposes the simple argument that “gambling is good for us”. Writing in the March 2011 edition of the IEA’ Economic Affairs they argue “evidence is mounting that the systems of social support and companionship inherent in gambling also contribute to longer, more disease-free, and higher quality life”. 
The article cites research that mental activity associated with gambling activities like Bingo can “stave off” the effects of mental diseases like Alzheimer’ in pensioners. 
Gambling can also benefit the young and the authors are critical of the campaign to minimise youth gambling because it may have “unintended, negative consequences”. Such campaigns deny young people the opportunity to learn about risks and the importance of chance in events. The American Psychological Association also believes the likelihood of developing a problem gambling habit increases the later in life someone starts to gamble. 
Basham and Luik’ conclusion is succinct – “gambling has become a widespread pastime for a simple, single and unassailable reason: gambling adds significantly to the sum of human happiness”. 
Their work should provide some welcome arguments (and essential reading) for an embattled industry that continually has to justify its existence like no other licensed, tax-paying business. 
Gambling – A Healthy Bet (2011) Patrick Basham & John Luik
The Social Benefits of Gambling Patrick Basham & John Luik in Economic Affairs (Institute of Economic Affiars, March 2011 p 9-13)