The Social Impacts of Gambling

Gambling is wagering something of value on a random event in order to win something else of value. It’s a behaviour that is a form of entertainment, but when someone becomes addicted to gambling it stops being a form of entertainment and turns into a way to escape from boredom or stress or even a source of income. Those who become addicted to gambling often have one or more of the following underlying issues: a tendency to replicate an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, use of escape coping, stressful life experiences and depression.

In addition to its social and economic benefits, gambling also provides an opportunity for people to meet with friends and family in a safe environment. Gambling events such as charity casino nights and community poker tournaments help bring people together. People also gather to watch sports events such as football games and horse races, which can create a sense of community spirit and support for a particular cause.

Despite the fact that gambling is an activity that involves many different social impacts, most studies have ignored them and focused on the economic costs and benefits which are easily quantifiable. In contrast to this, Williams et al. [32] argued that a more accurate approach is to look at the personal and interpersonal levels of social impact, such as invisible individual costs that may not be recognised, costs associated with problem gambling and long-term cost/benefits. The authors suggest that an alternative methodology is to consider using health-related quality of life weights (similar to those used in illness and disability research) to discover the intangible harms that gamblers experience.