Casinos and the economy

It’s implicit in your statement. Casinos employ many people,no doubt, but the effect on the economy were they to be shut down could be positive, negative, or neutral, depending on where the money then goes. Do they employ more people per dollar spent there than, say, a restaurant, an educational institution, a bar, or department store? I don’t know, but I would suspect the effect of removing easy access to gambling would be on the whole positive.

Providing jobs that would not otherwise exist is an economic good, viewed in isolation, but providing them via an activity that is a social harm is not. See the fallacy of the broken window.

No, but the reason that governments try to attract casinos to their area is to create jobs (net); the discussions is, is that hope valid?

In the case of Germany, WWII killed 5 million people, destroyed major parts of the economy, and reduced the population to poverty. However, within 15 years of the end of WWII, Germany was humming along, with full employment, and had rebuilt most of the infrastructure-with brand new railroads, factories, highways.
WWII was good for Germany, wasn’t it?

Jobs are nice but not all jobs are created equal. If I pay a thousand workers to build cars, I’m adding products to the economy. If I pay a thousand teachers to educate students, I’m adding knowledge to the community. If I pay a thousand ditch diggers to dig holes in a field on odd days and fill them back in on even days, what am I adding to the economy beyond the money I’m giving to my employees? This isn’t saying that the wages I’m paying aren’t of value to those workers, but I already had that money to start with. I just took some of my money, divided it up, and distributed it to other people. No value was created by my actions.

So Ralph and Little,

are you trying to say that the entertainment value of going to a casino is not a measurable good in the economy? If so, one could make the same argument that building a movie theatre does not benefit the economy.

It depends on who is playing at the casinos. If people from outside the area are traveling into the casino to spend their money it is good for the area economy. If local people who would otherwise travel elsewhere to gamble are playing, it is good for the local economy. If local people who would otherwise spend the money doing other things are playing it is neutral for the economy.
In terms of consumer surplus casinos are probably always good for the economy, but this is not what is usually referred to as being good for the economy, as it is very hard to measure.
If gambling creates crime and poverty casinos can be bad for the economy. If the demand for gambling is relatively inelastic, governments can tax it with very little dead weight loss. If they tax other things that have more dead weight loss less, than this can be good for the economy.