The Social and Economic Impact of Gambling


Gambling involves placing a wager on an event with the hope of winning something of value. It is a risky activity and can have negative impacts on gamblers, their families and the wider community. However, there is also evidence of positive social and economic effects.

Many people who gamble are able to stop gambling and lead fulfilling lives, but for others it becomes a problem. If you are concerned about a loved one’s addiction to gambling, it is important to talk openly with them and support them to seek help. There are many treatment options available for problem gamblers, including individual and group therapy sessions, self-help programs and medication. You can find out more about these treatment options here.

Identifying gambling triggers is a good way to help you reduce your compulsive behaviour. This can include identifying people and places that make you want to gamble, such as the friend who regularly goes to a casino with you or your favourite gambling site. It is also important to identify any unhealthy thinking patterns, such as the illusion of control and irrational beliefs, which can increase your vulnerability to gambling.

While there is no definitive answer as to why some people develop a gambling problem, it is often associated with stress and other mental health issues. It is important to seek help for these underlying issues at the same time as dealing with your gambling problems.

The social impact of gambling has been studied through surveys and case studies, but longitudinal research has been difficult to mount. There are a number of practical and logistical barriers to longitudinal research, including funding requirements for a multiyear commitment; difficulties with maintaining research team continuity and obtaining consistent and valid data over a long period of time; and the fact that gambling is a complex phenomenon that changes over time.

Many people who have a gambling problem are reluctant to admit that they have a problem, so it is important to keep the lines of communication open and listen to them. It is also important to avoid judging them, as they may feel betrayed by friends who have told them that they have a problem and have resorted to hiding their gambling activities.

Keeping your own finances separate from those of a family member with a gambling problem can be helpful, especially if you are linked by credit cards or rental agreements. This can help protect your credit score and allow you to seek professional help for your family member if necessary.

It can be tempting to try and ‘win back’ money that you have lost, but this rarely works. It is best to view gambling as a form of entertainment, similar to going to the cinema, and only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. It is also a good idea to set yourself a budget for this purpose and stick to it.