Vice Squad
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Anti-Gambling Legislation Successful!

Um, well, except the legislation is not passed as an explicit anti-gambling measure. Nevertheless, public smoking bans are reliable in decreasing gambling (as long as those bans apply to on-site gambling venues). [Smoking bans put quite a crimp into bingo, too.] The most recent evidence comes from Down Unda (a curiously north-centric term), in New South Wales: "The ban on indoor smoking is ripping tens of millions from the pub and club industry, and poker machine turnover fell almost 20 per cent in hotels last month."

Of course, declines in gambling are always over-determined. Sure, there's the smoking ban, but there are also high petrol prices, wetter-than-usual-weather (which reinforces the smoking ban in that fewer bettors are desirous of stepping outside for a cigarette), internet-based competition, and (according to the linked article), high interest rates. This is the first time I have run across the claim that high interest rates deter gambling, but there does seem to be a certain logic to it.

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