The Social Impact of Gambling


Gambling is the wagering of something of value, usually money or goods, on an event that is dependent on chance and involves a risk. It is considered to be an addictive behavior. The activity has many forms and is a popular international recreational pastime. Some types of gambling include betting on sporting events, card games, and casino-based games such as roulette and blackjack. Other types of gambling may involve wagering items that have a perceived value, such as marbles, Pogs, and collectible game pieces. The activity can also be conducted with virtual money, as in the case of online casinos.

Physiologically, placing bets activates certain brain receptors to produce a feel-good hormone called dopamine. This is why people feel happy when they win and are sad when they lose. However, this happiness is short-lived and the human brain becomes conditioned to need more dopamine to continue to experience pleasure.

When it comes to the social impact of gambling, the majority of research concentrates on problem gambling and its costs to society. Moreover, personal and interpersonal impacts have been largely ignored as they are difficult to measure and quantify.

A common approach to measuring the social impact of gambling involves calculating the economic cost of gambling at the community/society level. The calculation is made by estimating the general costs of gambling, costs related to problem gambling and the long term costs. In addition, the analysis takes into account the societal benefits and the quality of life derived from gambling.