The Social Impact of Gambling


Gambling is the placing of something of value (such as money) on a random event with the intent to win something else of value. The event could be a sporting match, a lottery drawing or even a casino game. While it may seem trivial, gambling is a serious problem that affects many people, families, and communities. Gambling has been shown to have significant impacts on a person’s finances, health and well-being, and social life. The impact on society, however, is much greater and largely overlooked. This article is intended to address this gap in knowledge and highlight the importance of examining gambling’s social costs as well as its economic benefits.

One major limitation of earlier gambling impact studies is that they have largely focused on the monetary aspects of the problem, while ignoring other social impacts, such as the negative effects of gambling on personal and family relationships. This is due in part to the fact that social impacts are difficult to quantify compared with the economic costs and benefits, which are easier to measure.

In addition to the monetary costs associated with gambling, governments must spend a great deal of resources on regulation and administration procedures necessary to secure gambling operations and maintain social stability. This includes a certain level of financial support for gambling-related research and treatment services.

While some people may find enjoyment in gambling, for others the activity is a source of addiction. A large proportion of individuals struggling with gambling addiction have underlying mental health issues such as depression or an inability to cope with boredom or stress. This is exacerbated by the nature of the activities themselves, which often promote a false sense of control and provide an escape from daily routines. For these reasons, problem gamblers tend to have a higher than average desire for instant rewards.

As a result, their brains release dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes us feel excited, which can be a strong motivator to continue gambling even when we are losing. This is why problem gamblers are often unable to recognize when their behaviour has become problematic, despite the clear evidence of harms and losses.

A growing number of organisations offer support and assistance to those who are struggling with gambling addiction. They can help you learn to recognise the signs of harmful gambling and to develop a plan to stop it, or help you to recover from it if you have already lost control. Some services also include support for family and friends of gamblers. If you think you may be suffering from a gambling addiction, please contact your local community centre for information and advice. They can also refer you to specialist support services, such as gambling helplines. In Australia, there are currently more than 50 Gambling Helplines. These services are free and confidential and can be accessed 24/7. In addition, some local councils run Gambling Helplines in their regions. They can be contacted via their website or by telephone.