Gambling is an activity which people enjoy for money and can have significant economic and social effects. Impact studies are useful tools used by researchers and policymakers to compare and contrast different gambling policies. These studies usually assess gambling across a continuum of severity. They also can be used to weigh gambling’s impact on health and harm against the effects of alcohol. In general, impact studies of gambling are more comprehensive than studies of alcohol, but they should be regarded with caution.
It is important to recognize the signs of gambling addiction. The compulsion to gamble often relates to unpleasant emotions or social experiences. In such cases, it is essential to stop gambling as soon as possible. As a preventive measure, people suffering from gambling addiction should strengthen their support networks. Among these supports are their family members and friends. It is also important to find other activities to engage in outside of gambling, such as volunteering for a worthy cause. Lastly, people suffering from gambling addiction should join peer support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous. These groups follow the same 12-step recovery program as Alcoholics Anonymous, and members are required to have a sponsor who is an ex-gambler.
Gambling charges can carry significant penalties. A misdemeanor gambling conviction may result in a fine of up to $1,000, while a felony conviction can lead to 10 years in prison. The punishment for a gambling conviction depends on the amount of money that was wagered, but a few hundred dollars can go a long way. Further, fines can add up to as much as 20% of the fine amount, and in some cases can exceed twenty-thousand dollars.