The Economic Impacts of Gambling

Gambling is risky and involves putting money or something of value on an outcome that is based on chance. It has been around as long as humankind and is still practiced by many people around the world. Whether playing scratch cards, casino games, betting on sports events or the pokies it can be fun and rewarding. There are, and always have been professional gamblers who make a living from it either dishonestly or legitimately.

Gambling has both positive and negative impacts on the economy. These are manifested at personal, interpersonal and community/society levels (Fig 1). Negative impacts include costs associated with gambling that are not directly incurred by the gambler but which affect other people or groups. These include financial, labor and health and well-being impacts. Financial impacts involve changes in economic situations, such as gambling revenues, effects on tourism and infrastructure cost or value change. Labor impacts include gambling effects on work, such as productivity and performance changes, absenteeism, and job losses. Health and well-being impacts are those related to the physical, psychological, social and emotional aspects of life and can include quality of life.

Some of the benefits of gambling include socialization and relaxation. For example, some individuals enjoy gambling with friends, especially when the games require strategy and critical thinking such as blackjack and poker. This can help improve pattern recognition and sharpen mental faculties as well as hone math skills. Gambling is also a good source of revenue for some communities, allowing them to provide services and improve the economy.