The Social Costs of Gambling


Gambling is an activity where someone risks money or personal possessions with the hope of winning something else of value. It includes casino games, sports betting and eSports. It is a common leisure activity and is often seen as a form of entertainment. It is not for everyone and should be treated with care. Some people develop harmful gambling behaviour, which can cause emotional and financial harm. Some people who have problems with gambling seek help and support from family, friends and community groups. Counselling can help them think about their problem and consider options to solve it.

The literature on the social costs of pathological gambling focuses primarily on crime, financial difficulties, and disruptions of relationships, but also includes a range of other negative consequences for the gambler and those with whom they are most closely associated. These costs are also included in the economic impact analysis studies, although there is a growing recognition that the methods used to arrive at these estimates need to be developed further.

The motivation to gamble is complex and varies between individuals. It can include a desire to change one’s mood, the dream of winning a large sum of money or simply the thrill of taking a risk. For some, it is a way to relax or to socialize with friends. In addition, some research has shown that gambling can trigger feelings of euphoria in the brain. This can be linked to the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter.