Gambling is an activity where people bet on a game of chance or skill, usually with the intention of winning a prize. A bet can be as simple as a person or group predicting success in a sports event, or more complex where a commercial entity makes a decision to invest in a product or service with the potential of future high demand.
Gamblers may be psychologically driven, but they can also be motivated by the desire to relieve unpleasant emotions or boredom. While it is possible to self-soothe these feelings through gambling, it is far more important to learn to alleviate them in healthier ways and find alternative sources of pleasure or entertainment.
A variety of economic impact studies have been conducted in the past few years to assess gambling’s effects on society. Some studies are focused on the gross impacts of gambling (Gregson and Grass, 1996; Goodman 1994), while others emphasize the social costs of problem or pathological gambling.
Benefit-cost analysis is an important tool in assessing the economic impact of gambling. It helps to identify and quantify the positive and negative effects of gambling, and distinguish between direct and indirect, tangible and intangible, real and transfer, and social costs and benefits.
The most significant challenge in advancing the understanding of the economic impact of gambling is to develop the methodology and tools necessary for a more comprehensive analysis of its social and financial costs and benefits. This work is not easy or cheap, but it is essential to understand the full range of consequences of gambling, including those that are associated with problem and pathological gambling.