Despite the conceptual robustness of the law of demand (Marshall  1997, ch. 3; Samuelson and Nordhaus 1995, 24), it is evident that this concept is not necessarily sufficient to reveal the quantity demanded nor applicable enough to directly uncover the demand behavior of casino gambling in practice (Siu 2007a and 2011).
A major issue associated with economic studies is that the unit price paid by individual patrons to enjoy a casino game is unobservable. Indeed, once the odds of casino games are fixed, influences from a number of non-price factors (e.g., traits of a society in terms of its culture, religion, political structure, education, etc., as well as income and wealth) may contribute to the decision processes of individuals and endogenously determine their choices (including various types of games and total amount of funds to be spent).
A Socioeconomic Approach to Demand for Casino Gambling To a large extent it cannot be argued that the contextual settings of a society shape the ideology and value system of its members, hence influencing the representation of their demand behavior for gambling. For example, it is of little dispute that the unique traits of Chinese society contribute to a number of key attributes (especially influences from Buddhism and Confucianism; see, e.g., Nepstad 2000) that induce a relatively higher propensity of the population to gamble in comparison to people in other societies.
As a matter of fact, “gambling followed the development of the Chinese society every step of the way and by 1000 B.C. it became as inseparable from Chinese culture” (Progress Publishing Co. 2006). the economics of asian casino gaming and gambling 63 To account for social influence on the demand for casino gambling, the consumers’ utility function in a social environment as formulated by Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy (2000, 9) provides relevant grounds for this effect.
U = U(x, y;S) (4.1) In equation (4.1), x and y denote the quantity of all kinds of economic goods and services, and S represents the “social influences” on the utility function through the stocks of “social capital” (e.g., social norms, religion, education, etc.). In principle, “changes in social capital do not shift the utility function, but raise or lower the level of utility with the stable function, U.”
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Thus, if x denotes the quantity of casino gambling and y the quantity of all other economic commodities, one’s utility derived from casino gaming (x) depends on whether one’s “friends and neighbors” choose to gamble in casinos. In Backer and Murphy’s general argument, “x and S are complements so that an increase in S raises the marginal utility from x, even when the increase in social capital itself lowers utility.”