The Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling


Gambling is an international commercial activity that accounts for a substantial amount of money each year. In 2009, the legal gambling industry was valued at $335 billion. Gamblers place bets with materials that have some value, such as marbles. In games such as Magic: The Gathering, players stake collectible game pieces, which can lead to a meta-game about the collection. In the case of marbles, bettors may place as many as four bets on each marble.

Although gambling is an important leisure activity in most countries, its social and economic consequences cannot be ignored. This study identifies the social impacts of gambling, which can be categorized into three major categories: economic, interpersonal, and societal. The financial impacts of gambling can manifest themselves in personal and interpersonal impacts, as well as changes in value and financial situations. Regardless of the level of risk, gambling’s social and economic impacts are profound. Whether gambling leads to social harm or positive effects on individuals, the economic and social costs of gambling are worth understanding.

The financial harms associated with gambling are widespread. Many people who become involved in problem gambling face serious financial challenges. Their incomes decline, their savings shrink, and they often experience a range of other financial consequences. Sadly, many problem gamblers have been forced to sell their possessions to pay for their gambling. Further, many people who seek treatment for problem gambling have to deal with late bills and a variety of other financial issues. In Finland, the number of people who turn to non-government organizations for help is high – between 8% and 71% of problem gamblers have at least one other form of substance use disorder.