The PHIGam Model – The Costs and Benefits of Gambling


Gambling is the wagering of something of value (money, goods, or services) on an event with a random outcome (such as a game of chance) in the hope of winning a prize. There are many different types of gambling, including sports betting, horse racing, and casino games such as blackjack, poker, roulette, and bingo. People also place bets on events such as television shows and political races.

Gambling can have negative effects on personal, family, and community health and well-being, and can contribute to poverty and social disorganization. However, there are also positive aspects of gambling, such as entertainment and social interaction. For some, gambling is a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions or relieve boredom. It is important to recognize that there are healthier and more effective ways to relieve boredom or distress, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up a new hobby.

The PHIGam model defines costs and benefits in terms of three classes: financial, labor, and health and well-being. The financial impacts include changes in gambling revenues, tourism, and other economic activity. The labor impacts are a result of the increased time spent on gambling and loss of earnings from other activities. The health and well-being impacts are the direct or indirect consequences of gambling on the gambler. The societal/community level impacts are the broader social and environmental consequences of gambling.

The best thing you can do for a loved one who is addicted to gambling is to get them help and support. This can be done by finding an addiction treatment program, such as the 12-step recovery program Gamblers Anonymous modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also help by setting limits on their money and credit, and enforcing those rules consistently.