Whether it is casino games, sports betting, lottery tickets, or any other form of gambling, it can have a negative impact on a person’s life. There are three main types of impacts that are derived from gambling, namely, personal, interpersonal, and societal/community level. Having a solid understanding of the different types of gambling impacts can help policy makers and researchers compare and contrast different gambling policies.
Depending on how a person plays the game, gambling can have positive or negative impacts. For example, recreational gamblers are likely to report better health than nongamblers. But, even for low-risk gamblers, health and well-being can be affected. Problem gambling increases the risk of mood disorders. It can also be associated with social inequality.
On the other hand, gambling can have a positive effect on the self-concepts of senior citizens. For instance, one study found that a past-year gambler aged 65 or older reported better well-being than a non-gambler. Another study found that gambling can contribute to perceived wellness in older Australians. But, it may also reinforce the self-concepts of lower socioeconomic groups.
Despite the fact that gambling is a popular leisure activity in many countries, it has major social and economic impacts. These include changes in the lives of the gambler, other family members, and community members. Some of these impacts are invisible, and can become visible only when a person’s family or friends seek help. Often, a person’s family or friends will feel ashamed or embarrassed, and the effects can continue to occur even after the person stops gambling.
In order to properly assess the social impacts of gambling, it is necessary to consider several factors. One of the most important is how to measure the impacts. A variety of studies have been conducted, and most of them have focused on the financial and labor impacts. The economic impacts of gambling include changes in the financial situation of the gambler. The labor impacts include job gains, reductions in performance, and changes in productivity.
The societal/community level external impacts of gambling can include benefits related to problem gambling, as well as general costs and benefits. These impacts are mainly monetary in nature.
The majority of studies that measure the economic impacts of gambling have been conducted in North America. However, the gambling impacts can be observed in many countries worldwide. As the gambling industry expands, governments will have to spend more on research, regulation, and professional training to protect the community.
Having a strong support network and a healthy support system can help people cope with a gambling addiction. In addition to seeking support from family and friends, problem gamblers can attend professional counselling sessions. These services are free and confidential. The BetterHelp website can match problem gamblers with therapists who will offer help and guidance. There is also the 12-step recovery program called Gamblers Anonymous. It has former addicts who can provide guidance.
While the financial and labor impacts of gambling are widely known, the social impacts are less well-known. A study by Walker and Barnett defined the social costs of gambling as “harm to someone (a child, a spouse, a parent) or harm to no one”. Having a comprehensive understanding of gambling’s social impacts can help researchers and policy makers assess and evaluate the costs of gambling, and can help determine which gambling policies would be the most cost-effective.