Categories: Gambling

How Gambling Affects Society


While coping with a gambling addiction can be difficult, reaching out to friends and family can help the individual deal with the situation. Though it is tempting to think, “this is the last time”, reaching out to others can help the individual realize that they are not alone. Also, setting boundaries in the area of money management can help the person stay accountable and avoid a relapse. The first priority is to protect one’s own credit and finances.

Social acceptability of gambling

Gambling’s social acceptability is important for determining its popularity. While the majority of gamblers behave responsibly, a small percentage develop harmful habits. These can have negative health, relationship, and economic consequences. Researchers from McGill University have examined the social acceptability of gambling and suggest strategies for parents and youth to prevent problem gambling.

Studies have shown that social acceptability of gambling among young adults is associated with increased risk of gambling and psychiatric disorders later in life. In addition, social acceptability of gambling may differ between males and females. However, research has also shown that gambling is becoming more common in females. Identifying risk factors for female gamblers may help identify potential prevention strategies.

Costs of problem gambling

In addition to financial costs, problem gambling can cause social and mental health problems. It may also lead to violence or even suicide. Studies show that problem gamblers have a higher risk of suicide than the general population. One Swedish study estimated that problem gamblers had a 15-fold increase in the risk of suicide compared to the general population. The cost to society is large, with an estimated $7 billion cost arising from job loss and other social consequences.

In addition to direct costs, problem gambling also has intangible costs such as emotional distress and lost productivity. The societal costs of problem gambling can be calculated by combining epidemiological and unit cost data. In Sweden, the estimated societal costs were EUR1419 million in 2018. Of this, EUR184 million was directly associated with problem gambling. A total of EUR832 million came from indirect costs, which accounted for 59% of the total.

Costs of commercial gambling

Costs of commercial gambling are not easily determined because their effects vary across time, venues and types. It is, however, possible to measure their effects, using a benefit-cost analysis. One of the biggest challenges is determining which costs are real, and which are simply transfers. For example, a gambling operator borrowing money does not generate a cost to society, as it simply transfers consumption from the future to the present.

The social costs of problem gambling are difficult to quantify, but have been studied since the 1990s. The costs do not only affect problem gamblers but also their family and friends. These costs have an effect on economic policies and the distribution of wealth in society. In addition, critics of commercial gambling argue that it will hurt other industries and cannibalize them.

Costs of recreational gambling

The impacts of recreational gambling have been studied at several levels. They include the social, economic, and environmental costs. Many of these costs have been measured, but a few have not. The social costs are those that occur outside of the gamblers’ control. For example, gambling costs to society may include changes in the economy and increased taxes. These costs are often invisible, but some may be more noticeable.

Social costs of gambling include the costs of crime, financial hardship, lost work time, and bankruptcies of individuals who are addicted to gambling. It is estimated that these costs add up to at least $54 billion per year, which compares with an estimated $110 billion for drug abuse.

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