The Social Impacts of Gambling


Whether buying a lottery ticket, placing a bet on horses or sports events, playing video poker or using the pokies, gambling is any game of chance where a person stakes something of value in the hope of winning a prize. It occurs in casinos, racetracks, gas stations, church halls and on the Internet. Gambling has impacts at the personal, interpersonal and community/societal levels. Personal impacts involve gamblers and affect them directly, while interpersonal and community/societal impacts concern those who are not gamblers but are affected by gambling.

Most studies of gambling focus on monetary costs and benefits, which are readily quantifiable. However, gambling has social impacts as well, which are not readily measured. These include:

Workplace impact: Problem gamblers can be a detriment to their employment, causing productivity losses, absenteeism and poor performance. They can also become ill as a result of their gambling habits and lose wages [32].

Gambling is often used to relieve unpleasant feelings or to pass time, such as boredom or loneliness. However, there are healthier ways to do so, such as spending time with friends who don’t gamble, exercising or practicing relaxation techniques. Also, learn to budget money for entertainment and treat any winnings as a bonus. Avoid chasing lost money, as this can lead to even larger losses. Lastly, never gamble when you’re upset or depressed. This can lead to reckless decisions and may increase your risk of gambling problems. Seek help if you feel that you have a gambling problem.

Posted in: Gambling