The Economic and Social Impacts of Gambling
Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves wagering something of value on a random event. It is a way to socialize and unwind, but there are negative consequences of this activity. Some of these negative impacts include crime, increased violence, and increased rates of driving while intoxicated. Others, such as mood disorders, can persist even after a person stops gambling.
Many studies have examined the economic and social impacts of gambling. These impacts have been measured at the individual, interpersonal, and community/society levels. A majority of empirical research has focused on the economic impacts. Financial costs of gambling can be easily calculated. Other impacts can be harder to measure.
While the economic impacts of gambling are relatively easy to quantify, the social and interpersonal impacts of gambling are more difficult to assess. These impacts are often invisible. But some can become visible once a person’s family and friends seek assistance for their loved one.
Some of these impacts have been described in the recreational/amusement sectors, such as casinos. However, fewer studies have investigated the positive impacts of gambling on gamblers. For example, research has found that some consumers use gambling as a means of escaping problems, while others are motivated by a desire to win money.
Most studies have been conducted in North America. Although there are many empirical studies that have focused on the economic and social impacts of gambling, there are still some gaps in the knowledge that need to be filled. Identifying these gaps is important for developing a balanced evidence base.
A recent study in the United States found that the introduction of casinos was associated with an increase in the rate of violent crime, especially crimes committed by people who drove while intoxicated. Other studies have shown an increase in social deprivation.
Some studies have also used the cost of illness approach to examine the socioeconomic impacts of gambling. This approach, which is commonly used to study alcohol and drug abuse, considers the harms that gambling causes to others, rather than the benefits. For example, studies have been conducted to determine the effects of compulsive gambling on a person’s health.
The costs of gambling are also divided into two classes. The first includes personal, interpersonal, and financial costs. The second includes the costs of problem gambling, as well as general external costs. Neither class can be adequately measured by an arbitrary monetary amount.
There are several reasons for this. One reason is that problem gamblers can hide their behavior. Alternatively, their behavior may be a symptom of a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder. Ultimately, they need help and support to stop gambling. Depending on the severity of the problem, treatment can include therapy and lifestyle changes.
Another problem is that there are no clear definitions of the types of social impacts that are produced by gambling. In some studies, social costs are defined as “harm to someone else” and not “harm to the individual.” This means that gambling’s social impact is hard to measure.