The Social Impact of Gambling
Gambling involves betting something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game or a contest. The bet can range from a small amount of money to a life-changing jackpot. People gamble in brick-and-mortar casinos, racetracks and even at home with online games. Some games are based on chance while others require skill. The most common type of gambling is placing a bet on sports events, but there are also other forms of gambling.
Earlier gambling impact studies have focused on economic costs and benefits, which are relatively easy to quantify. However, social impacts are more difficult to measure. Social impacts can be personal, interpersonal or community/societal in nature, and they are often unable to be captured in monetary terms. For this reason, they are often excluded from impact calculations.
There are many negative consequences of gambling, including losing more than you can afford, debt problems and relationship difficulties. However, the biggest challenge is admitting that you have a problem and seeking help. Counseling can help you understand your gambling habits, think about how they affect you and your relationships, and work towards change. There are also healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques. If you’re struggling with debt, get in touch with StepChange to speak to an expert who can offer free, confidential advice. They can also refer you to a debt advisor who specialises in gambling-related issues.