Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling

Studies of gambling have largely ignored the social and economic impacts. These impacts, which have not been measured, are usually unrecognized and often invisible. Social impacts on a community or society include costs and benefits related to problem gambling and the wider economy. Some of these external impacts are monetary, including increased shop rents and inflation. Nonetheless, some other costs and benefits are rarely measured. For example, gambling has negative effects on children and adolescents.

Social and financial harms associated with gambling have been found to be far more prevalent in deprived areas and groups, as well as among indigenous people. Gamblers with psychotic disorders, including a history of gambling addiction, are also more likely to seek help for their financial problems. However, causality between financial losses and gambling is not always clear. Some factors, such as ill-health, can lead to poor financial outcomes, whereas gambling can intensify poverty and increase risk of depression.

Positive impacts of gambling on society are often attributed to its financial and social aspects. For example, the effects of gambling on the health of people who do not gamble, such as those associated with smoking, may be mitigated by the positive benefits of social services. However, more research is needed to understand how these benefits affect the lives of gamblers. There are a few studies to support these conclusions. And, in the meantime, the literature on gambling shows that it does not necessarily lead to negative effects.