The Social Impacts of Gambling

Gambling is a risky activity that involves wagering money or material goods on an uncertain outcome. This uncertainty stems from the fact that gambling involves an element of chance, whether it is the roll of a dice, the spin of a roulette wheel, or the result of a horse race. In the past, it was considered immoral and illegal, but nowadays governments have openly embraced this form of entertainment and economic development by promoting state-based gambling. This includes betting on sports events, casino games, and online gambling.

In general, gambling is done privately or with friends in social settings. Examples include playing card games like poker and blackjack in a home setting, placing bets on football matches or horse races within one’s social circle, or purchasing scratchcards. In these types of situations, the gamblers place bets based on their chosen event and the odds (e.g., 5/1 or 2/1), which determine the amount of money they could win if they’re successful.

Studies have shown that gambling has both negative and positive effects on the individual. However, most research on gambling focuses only on the financial aspects of it and not on the social impacts. According to Williams et al. [32], the impacts of gambling can be structured into three classes: costs and benefits, which manifest in personal, interpersonal, and community/societal levels. Financial impacts involve the effects on one’s finances, which are usually directly quantifiable, while labor and health and well-being impacts are generally intangible and not easily measured.