The Social Impacts of Gambling


Gambling is an activity whereby a person wagers something of value on a random event with the expectation of winning some other thing of value. While many people are not aware of the negative social impacts of gambling, others find it difficult to stop gambling because it can cause significant harms to their self-esteem and relationships, as well as their physical and mental health, work performance and social life. It can also harm their families, friends and co-workers. Problem gamblers often attempt to hide their addictions from their loved ones or are secretive about how much they gamble. Moreover, compulsive gamblers frequently resort to extreme lengths to feed their habits, such as sourcing funds through debt, illegal activities or even family members in a bid to win back the money they have lost.

However, there are many ways to relieve boredom and stress without gambling. One can engage in healthier and more productive activities such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques. Furthermore, avoiding gambling can prevent the development of gambling disorders.

It is important to note that a lot of research on gambling has ignored the social impacts, instead focusing solely on the economic benefits and costs. This approach is flawed because it neglects the fact that social costs of gambling involve more than just the gambler and the money he or she loses. In order for a cost to be considered social, it must aggregate societal real wealth, and the impact should be on someone in society who does not benefit from it.