The Effects of Gambling


Gambling refers to any form of wager that involves risking money or something of value – bets with friends or poker tournaments are examples. In most instances, the odds favor the house; some can gamble without issue while others become hooked and out of control.

Gambling offers entertainment and recreation, helping some individuals feel better about themselves and their lives. Recreational gambling may promote optimism among older adults while increasing self-concepts. Furthermore, among low socioeconomic groups gambling can serve as an alternative leisure option to combat boredom or depression.

Gambling can also have negative consequences that have long-term repercussions, including financial, labor, health and well-being impacts that have an adverse impact on individuals as well as community/societal groups. Gambling addiction may alter a life path significantly while passing down through generations.

Harms caused by problem gambling can range from psychological distress and decreased social support networks to decreased quality of life, but some are more tangible and quantifiable – such as emotional distress, social exclusion and declining quality of life. Others can be quantified more directly, such as its financial cost – for instance families of problem gamblers may lose significant amounts in income due to their loved one’s gambling activities – having detrimental repercussions for health, employment and quality of life issues for themselves and other members.

Problem gambling can also result in excessive debt, leading to devastating personal and social repercussions for families. Homelessness may occur and relationships may even break apart over the addiction.

Other negative consequences can include job or business losses, decreased productivity, quality and performance decline, absenteeism – which in turn has an enormously detrimental impact on society and economy overall.

Researchers have used various approaches to investigate the impacts of gambling. Some have focused on its costs while others emphasize its benefits; commonly used research methodologies include health-related quality of life approaches, cost-benefit analyses and economic cost-effectiveness analyses.