The Impacts of Gambling
Gambling is a game of chance in which a player bets on the outcome of an event and hopes to win something of value. Gambling has been a recreational activity in the United States for centuries. It has been a common family pastime and a way to entertain and socialize. However, it has a negative impact on gamblers and their families.
The economic and financial impacts of gambling have been measured in studies. In the United States, the legal gambling market was estimated to be $335 billion in 2009. A study of the Australian gambling industry estimated a consumer surplus of $8-$11 billion per year. Other studies have found a positive impact on employment.
Studies have also analyzed the positive and negative effects of gambling on the health and well-being of individuals. These include mental health and physical health. Some consumers use gambling as an escape from personal problems. Others may seek a sense of accomplishment from a win. Seniors have reported that gambling can provide a psychological benefit. This includes a boost to self-concept. Interestingly, some studies have shown that seniors experience better health than non-gamblers.
Another type of gambling impact is violence. Gambling-related crime has been estimated at $22.5 million in 2014-15. Among problem gamblers, 37% have perpetrated physical IPV. Of these, 63% have been intimate partner violence. There has also been an increase in dating violence. Additionally, pathological gambling increases the odds of child abuse and severe marital violence.
Problem gambling is a serious issue that can impact a person’s personal life, the lives of their family, and the society in which they live. Fortunately, there are programs to help people with this problem. The National Helpline is available at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Also, free counselling is available 24-hours a day.
Studies have identified the economic, behavioral, and emotional costs of gambling. While a monetary amount is not a measure of all the consequences of gambling, it is a useful tool for comparing different health issues. Various impact studies have been conducted to assess the gambling impacts of recreational and amusement industries, retail businesses, and casinos.
There have been fewer studies focused on the positive impacts of gambling. One of the most recent was a Canadian Consortium for Gambling Research report that assessed the impacts of gambling on the economy and public health.
In addition to the financial and economic impacts of gambling, studies have been conducted to examine the effects of gambling on society. Most of these studies have focused on professional poker players and the recreational gambler.
Although these studies have measured the positive and negative aspects of gambling, there has been little discussion on the social and interpersonal impacts of gambling. Many of these impacts are difficult to quantify. Instead, they often become unnoticed at the community or society level.
A conceptual framework for assessing gambling impacts was developed by Williams and others. They defined the gambling impacts as: a) general impacts, b) long-term effects, and c) financial impacts.