Social Impacts of Gambling


Gambling involves placing something of value on a chance event with the intention of winning something else of value. It can be a fun way to kill boredom, meet people or pass the time, but it can also lead to addiction and harm the health of gamblers and their significant others as well as society as a whole. Problem gambling is a complex issue that can affect an individual’s life, career and relationships. It can cause financial stress, impact job performance and even lead to bankruptcy or homelessness.

There is no single form of gambling that is more addictive than another, but all forms have a risk of being problematic. People who gamble are often influenced by their friends and family, local culture and economic pressures. For example, Miles’ law predicts that those who stand to gain most economically from gambling will support it. Elected officials in cities where casinos are planned will support it to solidify their city’s economy, while bureaucrats at agencies that are promised gambling revenue will support it to help finance their budgets. Casino owners will also generally support it because they want to increase their business.

In the past, most studies of gambling have ignored social impacts and focused only on the benefits and costs that are more easily quantifiable. However, a recent study has examined both the personal and interpersonal aspects of gambling as well as its impact on the community/society. These impacts are categorized into three classes of costs and benefits: financial, labor, and health and well-being.