The Social Impacts of Gambling

In examining the effects of gambling, studies have largely ignored the social impacts. While they measure the economic benefits and costs of gambling, few have considered the social impacts. In their definition, social costs are those that harm someone or benefit no one, but are social in nature rather than personal. This makes it difficult to determine whether or not gambling causes harm in any given area. While there are a variety of ways to measure social costs, there is a distinct lack of research on social costs of gambling.

Impact of legalized gambling on society

There are three levels of impacts of gambling: interpersonal, societal, and economic. The effects of gambling are felt on an individual level, in relationships with friends, family, and work colleagues, and on the community. The costs of gambling are typically invisible to individuals, but can become visible at a community/society level, where they may influence social values and financial circumstances. Social impacts are also measurable in economic terms, encompassing changes in productivity, job losses, and physical and psychological well-being.

The impact of gambling on society has been a hot topic among policymakers, as the benefits far outweigh the costs. The research literature shows that expansion of gambling brings about a variety of social and economic costs. Regardless of the level of harms, it is difficult to quantify the benefits of gambling, and the benefits are difficult to assess. Luckily, there is an economic cost, which has largely been ignored by policymakers.

Health effects of problem gambling

Problem gambling can have serious negative psychological, physical and social consequences. It is classified as an impulse control disorder, and its negative effects are not limited to financial losses. Many problem gamblers suffer from depression, migraines, and distress. The effects of gambling addiction can also include attempts at suicide. Problem gamblers may experience a variety of physical symptoms, including a lack of sleep, acne, and dark circles under the eyes. These symptoms may lead to further medical problems and other negative consequences.

While the economic costs of gambling addiction are significant, the financial harms associated with gambling are often much worse for those around the problem gambler. Financial harms reported by problem gamblers range from reduced savings to total loss of all valuable possessions. While the effects of gambling addiction vary, they are often related. In the United States, the cost of unemployment related to problem gambling is estimated to be between US$6 million and $39 million, while in Victoria, the cost is approximately $46.7 million.

Social factors that influence gambling behaviour

The social context in which we engage in gambling influences our decisions to bet. While the presence of another person in the gambling environment can decrease our risk of making excessive bets, it can also speed up our gambling activities. Hence, understanding social context is important for responsible gambling interventions. Moreover, the influence of social relationships on our gambling behaviour may be difficult to alter because of the dense nature of social networks. However, it may be possible to change these social norms and reduce harmful gambling behaviors by altering the social environment.

In the present study, we employed multiple methods of methodological enhancements to measure the effect of social context on gambling behaviour. However, future research should focus on the effects of social context on gambling behaviour in different samples, particularly problematic gamblers. Different conditions may include different gambling settings, different types of gambling, or different in-session experiences. While implementing these methods, it is important to consider the social context before interpreting the results.

Treatment options

Behavioral therapy is a widely used treatment for gambling addiction. Behavioral therapies are focused on teaching skills to overcome impulse control, an issue that gambling feeds on. Cognitive behavioral therapy uses positive reinforcement to change unhealthy thought patterns. Families may be involved in the treatment of a compulsive gambler. An app may also be helpful in instilling healthy habits and encouraging consideration of compulsive behavior. Behavioral therapy for gambling is the most effective way to cure the problem.

Therapy may be helpful to identify triggers and overcome cognitive and behavioral patterns that promote or inhibit compulsive gambling. The most common form of cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on challenging harmful gambling thoughts. Support groups, similar to NA and AA, may also be helpful. These groups often use a 12-step approach to help the member of the group overcome their addiction to gambling. Depending on the type of treatment needed, bibliotherapy, support groups, and other forms of therapy may be the most appropriate for a gambler.