The Effects of Gambling


Gambling is risking something of value on an activity that relies largely on chance in the hope of gaining something of greater value. It has existed in virtually every society since the prerecorded ages and is often a part of local customs and rites of passage. It can have both positive and negative impacts, both at the personal, interpersonal, and community/societal levels (see Fig. 1).

Problem gambling has been associated with several psychological and behavioral factors, including the expectation of an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, use of escape coping, and a poor understanding of random events. A person with a gambling problem also tends to be more likely to suffer from depression and/or other mental health problems, such as anxiety.

Most people who gamble enjoy it for the social interaction and entertainment value. However, a small group of individuals develop serious gambling addictions and are not able to control their behavior. This can result in escalating debt, loss of income, and even homelessness.

There is a growing body of research on the effects of gambling and problem gambling. These include studies that look at both the economic impact and social costs/benefits. For example, studies have shown that gambling revenues can stimulate a local economy by attracting tourists and creating jobs. In addition, gambling may have a positive effect on a community by helping raise funds for charities. The same is true for casinos on Indian reservations, which are a good way to bring in revenue to the reservation and create employment.