The Impacts of Gambling

Gambling involves risk-taking and the pursuit of a prize or reward, such as money, goods, or services. It can include activities such as horse racing, lotteries, scratch tickets, sports betting, and online gambling. Gambling has a dark side, but it also provides value to society in several ways.

Some people develop an addiction to gambling and lose control of their behavior. They spend more money than they can afford to lose and rely on others to help pay for their habit, often jeopardizing their relationship with those close to them. Gambling addiction can be difficult to recognize, but there are a number of steps that individuals can take to seek treatment and regain their lives.

While most people gamble responsibly, some people experience serious problems that negatively affect their personal and professional lives. These problems can be characterized as either subclinical or pathological, and range from behaviors that place them at increased risk for more severe problem gambling to those that meet the criteria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) disorder of Pathological Gambling.

Gambling impacts can be observed at the individual, interpersonal, and community/society levels. Impacts are classified as costs and benefits; costs can be monetary or non-monetary. These effects can be long-term and affect multiple generations. The social and economic impacts of gambling can be studied from a cost-benefit perspective using a framework similar to that used in drug and alcohol research. In addition, the consequences of gambling can be examined on a temporal basis.