Social Impacts of Gambling


Gambling is the wagering of something of value, such as money or items of personal worth, on an event with uncertain outcomes based upon the probability of chance and where instances of strategy are discounted. In order for gambling to occur, three elements must be present: consideration, risk, and a prize.

The concept of gambling dates back thousands of years, with the earliest evidence a set of tiles discovered in ancient China dating from 2,300 B.C. These tiles were used to play a form of Chinese checkers, or mah-jong, with the aim of winning a prize. Other forms of gambling include a variety of lottery games, slot machines, racetracks, and casinos. While most people do not view gambling as a socially acceptable activity, some view it as a viable tool for economic development.

While there are many positive aspects to gambling, there are also negative effects that may impact the gambler as well as their family and friends. For example, excessive gambling can cause debt and financial strain. This can lead to an individual becoming financially unstable, which can then impact their relationships with loved ones. In addition, gambling can also have a negative effect on a person’s health.

A person who is addicted to gambling often lies to family members, therapists, and other professionals in an attempt to hide the extent of his/her involvement in this addiction. Additionally, the person may steal or commit other illegal acts to finance their gambling. In many cases, this can have devastating consequences on a person’s life, including losing their job, jeopardizing their relationship with family and friends, and even causing bankruptcy.

Those who support the idea of gambling as a viable tool for economic development believe that it can provide new jobs and increase tax revenues. In addition, they also view it as a means to assist deprived groups. Those who oppose this view believe that gambling has numerous negative social costs, including increased crime and mental illness.

Gambling can also have a negative impact on businesses. In particular, small businesses that are located near a casino or other gambling establishments have reported increased competition and reduced profitability. This is particularly true for retailers and other retail businesses that sell goods and services to gamblers.

In terms of social impacts, there are three classes: personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels. Personal and interpersonal level impacts affect the gambler’s family, friends and work colleagues, while societal/community level external costs/benefits are general and include the cost of problem gambling and long-term cost. In addition, societal/community level benefits can include gambling revenues and impacts on tourism.