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The Impact of Gambling on Government Budget: A European Comparison with a Focus on Italy - L’impatto del gioco d’azzardo sul bilancio dello stato: un confronto europeo e analisi del contesto italiano


  • Di Bella, Enrico

    () (University of Genoa, Department of Economics and Business Studies)

  • Gandullia, Luca

    () (University of Genoa, Department of Political Sciences)

  • Leporatti, Lucia

    (University of Genoa, Department of Economics and Business Studies)


During the last decade most of the European countries started a process of liberalization of gambling with the aim of fighting against illegal gambling and collecting an increasing amount of tax revenues. In this paper, after providing a comparison on main gambling institutional and tax differences across a selection of European countries, we evaluate the impact of gambling on government budget in order to understand if gambling consumption cannibalizes other forms of consumption, making doubtful the net effect for the government revenues. Results of our empirical analysis show that the effect of gambling on state balance is very small and, in some cases, not significant. Considering also the relevant social costs connected to pathological gambling, this result is interesting for policy makers who often consider gambling revenues as a possible alternative source of tax revenues. - Nell’ultimo decennio, la maggior parte dei paesi Europei ha intrapreso un processo di progressiva liberalizzazione del mercato del gioco d’azzardo, allo scopo di disincentivare il gioco illegale e di ottenere un crescente ammontare di entrate erariali. In questo lavoro, dopo aver fornito un confronto sulle principali differenze istituzionali e fiscali all’interno dei paesi UE, sarà valutato l’impatto del gioco sul bilancio dello Stato al fine di comprendere se il gioco d’azzardo cannibalizzi altre forme di consumo rendendo dubbio l’effetto netto per lo Stato. I risultati mostrano come l’impatto del gioco d’azzardo sulle entrate erariali sia molto ridotto e in alcuni casi non significativo. Considerando gli elevati costi sociali connessi al gioco patologico questo risultato può essere di utilità per i decisori pubblici che spesso considerano il gioco d’azzardo come una possibile e importante fonte alternativa di entrate per le casse dello Stato.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Bella, Enrico & Gandullia, Luca & Leporatti, Lucia, 2015. "The Impact of Gambling on Government Budget: A European Comparison with a Focus on Italy - L’impatto del gioco d’azzardo sul bilancio dello stato: un confronto europeo e analisi del contesto italiano," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 68(2), pages 187-212.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:ecoint:0751

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Terry Ashley & Yi Liu & Semoon Chang, 1999. "Estimating net lottery revenues for states," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 27(2), pages 170-178, June.
    2. Stephen Fink & Alan Marco & Jonathan Rork, 2004. "Lotto nothing? The budgetary impact of state lotteries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(21), pages 2357-2367.
    3. William F. Fox, 2010. "Can state and local governments rely on alternative tax sources?," Regional Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue oct, pages 88-101.
    4. Robert B. Ekelund Jr. & John D. Jackson & Rand W. Ressler & Robert D. Tollison, 2006. "Marginal Deterrence and Multiple Murders," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 521-541, January.
    5. Mary O. Borg & Paul M. Mason & Stephen L. Shapiro, 1993. "The Cross Effects of Lottery Taxes On Alternative State Tax Revenue," Public Finance Review, , vol. 21(2), pages 123-140, April.
    6. Douglas M. Walker & John D. Jackson, 2011. "The Effect Of Legalized Gambling On State Government Revenue," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 101-114, January.
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    More about this item


    Gambling; Fiscal System; Tax Revenues; Pathological Gambling;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies


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