The Costs of Gambling
Gambling involves wagering something of value on a random event. There are three elements that are needed to gamble: risk, reward, and a prize. The risks associated with gambling are both tangible and intangible. They affect gamblers, their families, and their communities. However, they are difficult to quantify.
Studies on gambling have measured the economic, social, and health impacts of gambling. Despite the negative impact that gambling can have, there are also some positive benefits. Those benefits include reduced illegal gambling and increased tourism revenues.
The gambling economy was estimated to be $335 billion in 2009. It is also estimated that a single problem gambler can cost the prison system between $51 and $243 million per year. Problem gamblers are also responsible for many other adverse effects on the workforce, such as absenteeism and job performance losses.
Although studies have explored the negative impacts of gambling, less attention has been paid to the positive effects. Several studies have found that recreational gambling can be a good way to enhance the self-concepts of lower socioeconomic groups. Others have reported that small wins can provide a sense of optimism in stressful life situations.
While there are positive and negative impacts of gambling, it is important to understand the costs of gambling and how they affect individuals and their communities. These impacts are categorized as financial, labor, and social. In addition, a conceptual model was developed to assess the gambling impacts in a public health framework.
Gambling impacts are typically quantified using an economic cost-benefit analysis. Economic cost-benefit analysis attempts to determine the positive and negative impacts of gambling on an individual’s well-being and the well-being of common units. Some of the positive impacts are related to the psychological enhancement of seniors and the reduction in social isolation. Other positive impacts include decreased crime rates and reduced illegal gambling.
Often, the costs of gambling are hidden. That is, it can be hard to know how much money is spent on gambling, how much the problem gambler is causing, and whether or not the gambling is making others worse off. Because of this, the personal impact of gambling is often not included in the gambling impact calculations.
Although these figures can be used to identify research gaps, the focus of research has generally been on the financial, social, and economic impacts of gambling. This has largely been because the study of these impacts is easier to conduct than those of the health and social impacts.
In addition to monetary and nonmonetary aspects of the gambling industry, the gambling economy has been linked to increases in violent crime and driving while intoxicated. Casinos are also correlated with higher rates of traffic accidents. Moreover, some studies have shown that casino introductions lead to increases in social disorganization and social deprivation.
Gambling has the potential to become a chronic addiction. This is especially true of problem gamblers. If you or someone you know is gambling too much, get help. Consider taking part in an educational class, or joining a support group, like Gamblers Anonymous. You can also seek out a sponsor who can give you guidance.