Gambling is the act of betting money or other valuables on a chance that you might win something. There are many different types of gambling, including betting on sports or the lottery.
It is a risky activity, but there are also benefits to gamblers and the society in which they live. For example, it can improve social skills, help you learn to manage your finances, and increase your creativity. It can also lead to new friendships and improve your mental health.
However, there are many negative effects of gambling as well. For example, people can become addicted to it and suffer from mental disorders like depression or anxiety. It can also take up time and money that could be used for other activities, such as work or family.
The gambling industry also benefits the economy by attracting visitors and money to the local community. This often leads to employment growth and economic development.
In addition, the introduction of a new form of gambling can have positive impacts on a city’s employment prospects. For example, in Macao, the casino sector is growing and has created jobs for other sectors of the local economy.
Despite these positive aspects, it is important to understand the negative impacts of gambling and how they affect the individual, interpersonal, and society/community levels.
Personal level: Impacts at the personal level are induced by gamblers themselves and affect their family members, friends, and work colleagues. In the context of problem gambling, these negative effects can even include violence towards significant others or homicide.
Interpersonal level: Impacts at the interpersonal level are induced by gamblers’ partners and close family members. These negative effects can range from petty theft from their partner to more serious forms of interpersonal harm, such as violence.
Community level: Impacts at the community level are induced by gamblers’ families and communities, and can influence other parts of the population. For example, gamblers’ increased debt and financial strain affect family members and can even escalate into bankruptcy and homelessness.
The community level external impact is mostly monetary, but it may include invisible individual and external costs that are general or problems gambling related. It also includes long-term costs that are not visible in the immediate short term, but can become visible when people seek treatment or support.
It is important to understand that the costs and benefits of gambling are not all monetary, and they can be difficult to measure. Some studies have tried to quantify the “consumer surplus” of gambling to show its positive economic impacts, but these attempts have led to a skewed view of the issue.
Moreover, some studies have failed to distinguish between the “economic” and “social” costs of gambling. They have used the arbitrary monetary amount of “consumer surplus” to quantify the nonmonetary impacts, but this has only led to an incomplete and biased picture of the situation.
The social impacts of gambling can be observed at the individual, interpersonal and community/society levels (Fig. 1). These impacts can be categorized into three classes: finance, labor and health, and wellbeing.