The Economic Impact of Gambling


Gambling is a form of entertainment in which an individual or group wagers something of value on an event that has an uncertain outcome. The wager, called a stake, is usually a sum of money, but it can also be anything else of value.

Some common types of gambling include scratchcards, fruit machines, poker and roulette. Other games, such as marbles or Pogs, use collectible game pieces as stakes instead of real money.

The most commonly accepted definition of gambling involves the act of wagering on an uncertain event with the intent of winning something of value. This can be a prize, such as a lottery ticket or a sports prize, or it may be a monetary amount, such as the premium paid for life insurance.

Reasons for gambling vary greatly, but many people gamble to alleviate stress or for mood change. Others gamble to socialize or challenge themselves intellectually.

Often, gambling leads to serious financial problems and bankruptcy. This is known as problem gambling.

Problem gambling can harm a person’s mental health and relationships, impact their performance at work or studies, get them into trouble with the law, and leave them in serious debt and/or homelessness. It can also make underlying mood disorders, such as depression or stress, worse.

Economic impact studies are a growing body of research that examines the costs and benefits associated with gambling. Some studies rely heavily on third-party calculations while others build estimates from scratch. Despite the differences in approach and quality, these studies demonstrate an evolution of methods used to estimate gambling-related impacts.