The Impacts of Gambling
Gambling impacts individuals and communities at all levels: individual, interpersonal, and societal. These impacts are not merely financial, but also affect health, well-being, and labor. Moreover, many of the impacts of gambling are long-lasting, changing the course of an individual’s life. These effects include losses in financial security, homelessness, and other outcomes.
While a number of studies have examined the economic benefits and costs of gambling, little research has examined the social costs and benefits of gambling. However, Williams et al. and Walker and Barnett have defined social costs as harms that are caused to some but not others. This view, while not definitive, has been used to evaluate the social costs and benefits of gambling. This perspective has been particularly useful for studies that seek to understand how gambling can affect individuals and communities.
While it is possible to quantify the economic and social costs of gambling, the social and psychological impacts of gambling are difficult to measure. The invisible costs of gambling, such as relationship damage, cannot be assessed in quantitative terms. As a result, studies focused on the social costs of gambling do not reflect its positive social effects. These costs can include emotional stress and relationship problems.
While gambling for money has become a popular leisure activity in most countries, it has significant economic and social impacts. Consequently, impact studies on gambling help researchers and policymakers determine which policies will reduce costs and increase benefits. Currently, the main problem with gambling impact studies is how to measure the social impacts of gambling. Since the majority of social impacts are non-monetary in nature, it is difficult to measure their impact. Further, these studies often fail to consider the personal impacts of gambling, which are often the most difficult to quantify.
Gambling has many forms. Some of these activities are legal and others are illegal. Public gambling events, such as horse races and dog races, allow people to wager on horses and dogs. Private poker sessions are another common form of gambling. Often, these events do not require any publicity and no door fee is required. Those who are guilty of gambling may face criminal charges.