The social and economic impacts of the Golden Horse Casino and the Sugar Mill Casino on their respective localities in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
The exponential growth of the gambling industry in South Africa has been the consequence of liberalized gambling laws. Casinos that were previously restricted to the homeland regions of the country have now become a common urban phenomenon that is easily accessible. Casino developments are still at an early stage of development, but the wide-scale consumption and popularity of the product has generated numerous debates over the cost and benefits associated with the industry. Whilst proponents of casino developments tend to emphasize the economic benefits, the opponents highlight the inevitable social costs, generated by the industry. The aim of this study is to determine the social and economic impacts of the Sugar Mill Casino and the Golden Horse Casino on the Mount Edgecombe and Pietermaritzburg communities respectively. These impacts have been assessed by making use of both quantitative and qualitative data sources. The findings suggests that both the Golden Horse Casino and the Sugar Mill Casino have afforded their respective communities economic benefits and growth opportunities in the form of firstly, the initial capital investment of the casinos, and secondly, by the subsequent revenues generated by the industry. However, the industry has also generated social costs that have been encountered mainly by those individuals who do not have control over their gambling practices, and are thus classified as problem gamblers. Problem gambling tendencies result in a host of psychological, financial and physical repercussions that are manifested at a personal and interpersonal level. If the casino gambling industry is expected to be of any benefit to the Pietermaritzburg and Mount Edgecombe regions, the economic gains of the industry have to be maximized whilst ensuring that the negative social cost remain minimal. Balancing these impacts remains imperative to the mutual sustainability of the casinos and their respective communities.
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