The Impact of Gambling


Whether it’s placing a bet on a football match, buying a scratchcard or putting money into a slot machine, gambling involves making a choice and then hoping to win something. This can be anything from a small amount of money to a life-changing jackpot. However, it is important to remember that gambling is a form of entertainment and is not to be taken seriously. If you feel that your gambling has become out of control, it is important to seek help from a specialist.

A lot of people don’t realise that they are hooked on gambling when they start to experience problems. The negative effects of gambling can be hard to recognise and it can be even harder to stop. This is especially true for those who have a ‘predisposition’ to gamble, which means that they are more likely to engage in gambling activities than others.

The way we understand the impact of gambling has undergone significant change in recent years. It is now recognised that pathological gambling is a mental illness akin to substance addiction. This change is reflected in, or at least stimulated by, the changing classification of gambling in the various editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Gambling has been associated with many different impacts on society. These have been observed at the personal, family, and community/societal levels. Most of these impacts have been negative, but some have also been positive. For example, gambling can increase tourism revenues and improve social capital. It can also reduce crime and criminal activity, and lead to higher education and employment rates.

Several factors contribute to the development of problem gambling, including a genetic or predispositional tendency, poor financial management skills, impaired cognitive abilities and distortions in thinking, emotional instability, and a lack of moral judgement. These factors can cause dramatic changes in the way the brain sends chemical messages, leading to compulsive gambling behaviour.

If you are worried that your gambling is out of control, it is important to seek treatment before things worsen. Many organisations provide support, assistance and counselling for individuals who have problems with gambling. These services can range from helping you to set limits on your gambling, to providing support for affected friends and family members.

Gambling is a complex issue, with both positive and negative impacts on society. It is difficult to assess these impacts on a single measure because they occur at different levels of society and can interact with each other. For example, a gambling problem can have direct monetary costs on the gambler and their families but may have indirect costs to the wider economy in terms of lost tax revenue. These costs can be assessed using health-related quality of life weights, or DWs, which are comparable to disability weights used in economic analysis. These weights are not widely used in the literature but could be useful to explore social impacts. These would complement the current use of GDIs to calculate the monetary costs and benefits of gambling.