Traditionally, gambling involves betting something of value on a random event. The game may involve lottery-type games, dog races, or organized football pools. Most countries have state-licensed lotteries. The revenue from these games can be positive or negative.
The impacts of gambling can be divided into financial, social, and general. The financial impact includes gambling revenues and infrastructure costs, as well as changes in financial situations. It can also affect those close to the gambler, such as family members and friends. For example, people who become bankrupt can have a negative effect on their families. Similarly, problem gamblers can create social care costs.
The social impact is determined by the degree of harm that the gamblers cause others. This can include violence, petty theft, and relationship problems. It can also be determined by the cost of the gambling to the gamblers’ health. Other pervasive effects include self-blame and loneliness. It is estimated that 1 to 4 percent of the adult population is problem gamblers.
Studies on gambling have focused mostly on economic impacts. Those impacts can be measured and quantified, and the benefits can be compared to other impacts, such as alcohol. However, social impacts are harder to measure. Those impacts are defined as harms to someone else or to no one. This definition was developed by Walker and Barnett.
Various studies have documented the positive and negative impacts of gambling. For example, recreational gamblers have been shown to report better health than nongamblers. They also have a better self-concept. They may also be able to maintain their optimism in difficult circumstances.
Among problem gamblers, violence is an especially significant form of interpersonal harm. It is estimated that 63% of problem gamblers have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV). Additionally, pathological gambling increases the odds of severe marital violence, dating violence, and child abuse. In addition, gambling is associated with homicide in the family. The prevalence of problem gambling varies from country to country.
The positive effects of gambling on a gambler’s physical and mental health are largely unknown. In recent years, there have been fewer studies that examine the positive impacts of gambling. Rather, impact studies have been focused on identifying negative gambling impacts. Some studies have investigated the positive impact of gambling on lower socioeconomic groups. These results have been used to suggest that gambling can strengthen seniors’ self-concepts.
Gambling can have a positive impact on society, especially if the money it brings to the community is used to support other business sectors. For example, in the U.S., the growth of state-operated lotteries was rapid during the late 20th century. It has also been reported that the introduction of new gambling can bring economic and employment benefits.
The study of the social impact of gambling is not always easy. Some of the invisible costs of gambling are hard to measure and even harder to quantify. These costs can include emotional stress, relationship problems, and unrecognized health costs. In some cases, the cost becomes visible at the community level, and others remain hidden.