Gambling has several impacts on society, both directly and indirectly. Social impacts include the costs and benefits of gambling on the individual, the community, and society as a whole. These impacts are often invisible because they are unmeasured or unrecognized. Social costs include the financial and social costs of problem gambling.
Social harms associated with gambling include petty theft from family members and illicit lending. Gambling is also associated with increased risks of domestic violence, dating violence, and child abuse. Pathological gambling has even been linked to homicide in the family. One study found that 63% of problem gamblers have experienced or perpetrated physical abuse against a partner.
Other studies have found that gambling has some positive effects on society. Recreational gamblers generally reported better health than nongamblers. It has also been shown that gambling has positive psychological benefits for seniors. The psychological benefits may help senior citizens reinforce their self-concept and feel more optimistic even under difficult circumstances. Lastly, gambling can serve as an additional leisure activity.
Although gambling is legal in many places, it can be harmful for some people. Gambling is an addictive habit that can be difficult to break – and it is important to know when to stop. In addition to setting boundaries, it’s also best to avoid drinking alcohol while gambling.