The Impacts of Gambling

Although most people gamble without problems, a small minority become seriously involved, with adverse personal, social and family and financial effects. It is important to recognise the signs that gambling may be a problem and to seek help if necessary.

Gambling involves placing something of value at risk on an event with a chance of winning a larger amount of money or other prize. There are many different types of gambling such as lotteries, scratchcards, poker, dice games and roulette. It is possible to gamble for free or with real money. It is a very popular activity worldwide and contributes to the economic stability of many countries.

Despite its popularity and apparent success, gambling is a very addictive activity. Some people find it difficult to recognise the signs that their gambling is becoming a problem and can be tempted to hide their spending habits from friends and family. There are several services and support groups that provide assistance and counselling for individuals who are worried about their gambling or have experienced harm from it.

Studies examining gambling impacts have mostly focused on costs. These are generally invisible at the individual level and include internal costs such as loss of control, guilt and stress. Other costs at the interpersonal and societal/ community levels include financial impacts such as revenue, costs associated with problem gambling and long-term costs, as well as psychological and health costs. In the case of the latter, these are often assessed using disability weights (DW), which are used to discover the impact of health-related quality of life on a gambler’s significant others.