While gambling can be a fun and social experience, it can also become a problem when the urge to participate exceeds control. A gambling problem is when a person’s urges to gamble start affecting other areas of his or her life. This can be easily recognized by a person’s inability to control his or her urges and subsequently causes stress and loss of control. Fortunately, there are many resources for people who are suffering from a gambling problem, such as counsellors, who provide free and confidential services.
Although gambling affects the economy and social well-being of communities, studies have mostly overlooked its social impacts. Although gambling has positive impacts, few studies have looked at the benefits or costs to gamblers. However, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) weights, also called disability weights, have been used to measure the negative impacts of gambling on people’s quality of life. In addition to assessing the costs of gambling, these disability weights are useful in identifying intangible social costs associated with gambling, as they reveal the harm that a person’s behavior can cause to his or her network.
Other negative effects of gambling include increases in crime, including violent crimes and driving under the influence. While these crimes are often caused by gambling, they are also related to increased tourism and population. In fact, pathological gambling costs the police between $51 million and $243 million per year. Some studies suggest that legal gambling has the potential to reduce crime and the costs associated with illegal gambling. And as long as it is limited to a small portion of the population, it can help increase local economic activity.