Social Impacts of Gambling


Gambling is a recreational activity where people bet on uncertain events using some mixture of skill and chance. It can be done online, in casinos, on sports events and the lottery. The activities are fun but there are also risks associated with gambling that can cause harm, including addiction, financial ruin and strained relationships. Some people find it hard to stop gambling even after winning, which can lead to a vicious cycle of losses and chasing losses. In addition, games of chance can be designed to make you believe you are doing better than you are, fostering a false sense of pride and achievement.

Unlike the financial, labor and health impacts that are quantifiable, the social costs and benefits of gambling are largely non-monetary in nature. These social impacts can manifest at the personal, interpersonal and society/community levels (Fig. 2). Individual level social impacts involve effects that affect gamblers themselves, while at the interpersonal and society/community levels they include invisible impacts such as hidden costs resulting from problem gambling, which can become visible at later stages.

The conceptual model presented here provides a framework to structure the available evidence on gambling impacts. It offers a useful structure to identify gaps in knowledge, as well as provide a platform to start building a common methodology for assessing the societal cost-benefit of gambling. This could then form the basis for developing public policies on gambling. Gambling is a very popular activity and contributes a percentage of GDP in many countries around the world. In addition, gambling provides a great way for people to socialise with their friends and family members through activities such as visiting casinos and buying lotto tickets together.