The Social Impacts of Gambling

Gambling is an activity where individuals place bets on a chance event to win a prize. This can be done for social, recreational or financial reasons. There are several ways to gamble, such as playing games of chance, betting on horse racing or putting money in a lottery ticket. While most people can live without gambling, there are some who are addicted to it and find it difficult to stop.

Whether it is an addiction to gambling or another addictive activity, the key to understanding why someone gambles too much is the way that their brain sends chemical messages to control their behaviour. The way that gambling influences our behaviour is similar to the way that some drugs affect us. That is why pathological gambling was recently recognised as a psychological disorder in the new DSM-5 classification.

Many studies of the impacts of gambling have focused on monetary costs or benefits and on personal and interpersonal effects. This has largely been driven by the methodological challenges associated with examining nonmonetary costs and benefits. As a result, the wider community/society level impacts of gambling are overlooked.

It is important to recognise that gambling has social impacts. These are influenced by the interaction between gamblers and their families, friends and community. They are also influenced by the social structures and institutions that gamblers interact with, such as charities and community groups. These impact in both positive and negative ways. They can influence the quality of life of a gambler and also cause harm to those closest to them, such as their family and friends.