How Gambling Affects Individuals and Society

Gambling is an activity where people risk money or items of value in the hope of winning. It may include slot machines, poker or card games, sports betting such as horse racing or football accumulators and lotteries. Moreover, gambling can be considered as a recreational activity that brings pleasure and excitement to its participants. It is a form of entertainment that enables people to socialize with friends and have fun in a pleasant environment. However, it is important to remember that gambling can have negative effects when done excessively.

The main reason why many consumers are attracted to gambling is the dream of winning money. It is also common for people to gamble as a way to relieve boredom or loneliness, such as after a stressful day at work or following a fight with their spouse. Additionally, gambling can help people develop a sense of control over their life. Similarly to how insurance is set, in which actuaries use probability theory to calculate appropriate premiums, gamblers can apply mathematical models to make informed decisions.

Gambling affects individuals and society in a variety of ways. These impacts are categorized into classes of benefits and costs that manifest at personal, interpersonal and community/societal levels (Fig. 1). The personal and interpersonal levels pertain to gamblers and their closest friends, family, and colleagues. Gambling’s negative impacts can increase debt and financial strain, which can have devastating consequences, such as escalating into bankruptcy and homelessness.