Social Impact of Gambling

Gambling is an activity in which a person puts something of value at risk for the chance to win something of equal value. This is an activity that can be very exciting and provides a sense of suspense to its participants. It is a recreational activity that is enjoyed by more than one billion people globally. In addition to being a source of entertainment, gambling is also an excellent way to raise money for charity. Many casinos and gambling operators participate in social responsibility initiatives by donating a portion of their profits to charitable causes and community initiatives.

Regardless of the reason for gambling, there are several negative impacts that have been observed on individuals and the wider society. These impacts can be found at the personal, interpersonal and community/society levels. The personal level impacts affect the gambler and their significant others directly, while the interpersonal and community/societal levels impact people who are not necessarily gamblers themselves. For example, a gambler’s increased debt can cause stress and strain for their family members or the effects of gambling can lead to bankruptcy which will then have a ripple effect on the community.

Moreover, there are various psychological factors that contribute to a person’s inclination towards gambling. These include boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, lack of understanding of random events, use of escape coping and the experience of depression among others. While the DSM nomenclature has emphasized the similarity between pathological gambling and substance abuse, the evidence to support this is not conclusive. Nevertheless, this does not detract from the fact that gambling is a very dangerous and addictive activity.