Understanding the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling


Responsible gambling includes knowing the odds and knowing when to stop. One should expect to lose money when gambling and budget the money as an expense, not as a way to make money. Understanding why people gamble can help change their behaviour. It’s important to understand the social and health impacts of gambling. If you don’t understand these factors, you can’t expect to change your behaviour. Then, you can begin to educate yourself. You can then decide if gambling is an appropriate activity for you.

Impacts of problem gambling on society

Despite its widespread popularity, gambling has major social and economic impacts, but many researchers have focused on the negative side of gambling. The economic cost-benefit analysis (ECBA) approach seeks to measure changes in well-being over a specified period of time and has the added benefit of determining whether gambling promotes good health and well-being. The economic cost-benefit analysis also accounts for intangible harms, such as the psychological and emotional pain caused by problem gambling, as well as the harms caused by gambling to others.

These costs are nonmonetary, but have significant long-term effects. For example, the economic cost of problem gambling is between US$6 and US$39 million. In Victoria, absenteeism due to gambling-related problems cost the province $46 million in 2014-15. In the United States, gambling-related crime costs $22.5 million annually. Suicides and crime associated with problem gambling costs approximately $28 million a year.

Health impacts of problem gambling

The health impacts of problem gambling are numerous and complicated, requiring integrated responses across sectors. Prevention efforts must reflect lived experience and ensure that efforts are appropriate. Research has demonstrated that this approach can significantly reduce harm. Health services must be funded and supported, and community engagement should be promoted to increase awareness and improve outcomes. State and territory governments should implement national consumer protection standards and regulate gambling venues. The government should also establish an independent statutory authority to monitor, investigate and report annual gambling activity.

The health impacts of problem gambling are both immediate and long-term. Among other things, gambling is associated with higher stress levels, and can lead to increased health problems and social problems. Research also suggests that gambling is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, substance abuse, insomnia, and peptic ulcer. Furthermore, problem gamblers are at higher risk of developing mental health conditions. Further, gambling can be harmful to family relationships, including family members.

Economic costs of problem gambling

In order to calculate the economic costs of problem gambling, researchers used a survey designed to measure the cost of the disorder. The survey included more than 13,000 people, approximately 0.2 percent of the population. The results were adjusted for the gender and age of respondents, as well as for personal calibration weights. Although gambling may be harmful, it is important to note that the costs are underestimated, partly because the economic costs are based on an arbitrary calculation that does not take into account a person’s life circumstances.

The results of the study were compared with a variety of other measures, including costs for individuals and society as a whole. In Sweden, the total economic costs of problem gambling were estimated at EUR1419 million in 2018, with direct costs representing approximately one-third of the total, and indirect costs accounting for nearly half of the total. The remaining two-thirds of the total cost were associated with mental health costs. However, this estimate does not consider the social costs of gambling, such as losses caused by violence or suicide.

Social acceptability of gambling

Social acceptability of gambling has become a critical measure of the socially acceptable activity of gambling. While most people engage in responsible gambling, a small proportion may develop a problem gambling habit, causing economic, relational, and health consequences. In a recent study, McGill University in collaboration with the National Council on Problem Gambling in the U.S., found that holidays are an ideal time to educate others about the risks of gambling.

While the social acceptability of gambling has long been considered an adult activity, increasing access and regulation have led to an increase in the numbers of adolescents who engage in the activity. Teenagers also are likely attracted to advertisements and positive media portrayals of gambling, including televised world championship poker tournaments that feature young people winning millions. This social acceptability of gambling may contribute to the increased popularity of online gambling as well. To assess the social acceptability of gambling, it is necessary to investigate the causes of youth gambling and determine the most effective strategies for addressing them.