The Impact of Gambling

The act of gambling involves risking something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. The gambler must consider the odds of a given outcome, and the stakes are high, so it’s important to only ever gamble with disposable income and never with money that needs to be saved for bills or rent. Gambling is also an addictive behaviour, and it’s not uncommon for people to develop a habit of gambling. If you’re struggling with a gambling problem, seek professional help as soon as possible.

Gambling has both negative and positive impacts on society, and these impact levels vary depending on the type of gambling environment, game played and whether revenues are derived locally or from elsewhere. A number of studies have examined the economic impacts of gambling and found that gambling can generate revenue for governments and reduce crime [32].

However, less research has been conducted on the social impacts of gambling. This is partly because social impacts are difficult to measure, and the costs of a gambling behavior can be hidden or not fully recognized by gamblers. Social impacts can be observed at the personal, interpersonal and community/societal levels (Fig 1). Personal impacts influence only the gamblers themselves, while interpersonal impacts affect those close to the gamblers, and societal/community impacts affect people who are not gamblers.

The impact of gambling can be measured using a variety of methods, but the most accurate and valuable approach is longitudinal research. Longitudinal data allow researchers to identify factors that moderate and exacerbate gambling participation, whereas cross-sectional studies can only identify associations between a variable and its effect on gambling participation.

Longitudinal research in the field of gambling is becoming more commonplace and sophisticated, and is an important step towards identifying and measuring the full range of gambling impacts. However, there are practical barriers that prevent many researchers from conducting longitudinal gambling studies – these include difficulties in maintaining research teams over lengthy periods of time and problems with sample attrition. Despite these barriers, longitudinal gambling research is an essential part of the evidence base on this complex phenomenon.

If you are struggling with a gambling problem, it’s important to understand that gambling is an addictive behavior and only you can decide whether it’s worth the cost of your health, wellbeing and relationships. Seek professional help and try to fill your time with other activities, such as hobbies and exercise. This will help you focus on other things and reduce your urge to gamble. If you are unable to stop gambling, seek therapy and consider if medications may be helpful. This could be behavioral or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However, it’s important to remember that you can only control your actions, not the outcomes of those actions. Changing your actions is the best way to change your feelings and thoughts about gambling. Gambling disorders are not curable, but they can be managed and treated.