The Effects of Gambling

Gambling involves betting something of value, primarily money, on an event that is determined by chance. This event could be a football match, a scratchcard or any other type of gambling game. The gambler chooses what he/she wants to bet on and the amount that he/she can win or lose is determined by the odds that are set by the gambling company.

In some cases, gambling can result in serious problems for people who are unable to control their urges and/or cannot stop gambling. These individuals may become dependent on gambling to get through the day and often feel a sense of guilt, anxiety and/or depression when they are unable to stop. Problematic gambling can also lead to legal issues, such as forgery, fraud, theft and embezzlement.

Gambling can have negative impacts on individuals, families and communities. Various types of research are being conducted on these impacts. Some researchers are studying the costs and benefits of gambling using a cost-benefit approach. Other studies are analyzing the social and economic effects of gambling from a societal perspective, assessing the changes in well-being. Gambling can have its positive side, such as the opportunity to gain enjoyment and pleasure from gambling, a source of entertainment for older adults, and the hope for a small win that can improve senior’s self-concept. However, the negative side includes increased debt and financial hardship that can lead to bankruptcy and homelessness. Other impacts include the increased crime rate associated with casinos and the strain on local businesses (restaurants, hotels, etc). These costs can be measured in monetary terms and are often based on published news accounts, court records and bankruptcy attorneys’ opinions.