The Social Impacts of Gambling – What is the Cost?


The Social Impacts of Gambling – What is the Cost? Who benefits and why? Developing a conceptual model is a good way to determine the benefits and costs of gambling and formulate public policies. Then, one can use the model to identify research gaps and develop interventions. But, before developing a conceptual model, one should understand what causes gambling and how it can be prevented. This article will briefly examine the costs and benefits of gambling.

Social impacts of gambling

The impacts of gambling are felt by more than just the individual gambler. They occur on the personal, interpersonal, and societal level, and impact all facets of life. The effects of gambling on a person’s life can range from economic to social, ranging from the loss of family and friends to increased crime. In some cases, the impacts of gambling are so widespread that they can even impact future generations. Identifying these impacts and the social costs they entail can help determine which policies need to be implemented to minimize their negative effects.


There is no definite definition of the social cost of problem gambling. However, it is obvious that these costs do not add up to zero. They are instead transfers from one problem category to another. The costs of problem gambling are both direct and indirect. Problem gamblers take time off work for long lunch breaks, spend hours online, and have increased incidences of lateness and crisis situations. A recent study in Quebec found that problem gambling among employees costs employers 5 hours of lost work time each month. This would translate into $5 million in lost wages. Moreover, these losses may include employee theft or embezzlement.


A public health perspective focuses on the costs and benefits of gambling, rather than the negative consequences. The cost-benefit analysis emphasizes the costs of pathological gambling but also acknowledges positive effects of gambling. In this approach, researchers evaluate gambling on a societal level and not just the individual. Gambling impacts vary greatly, from short-term to long-term, and may be measurable at the individual, societal, and global levels.


The root of gambling addiction lies in the brain’s reward system. Addicts who play casino games continuously produce 10 times more dopamine in their brains than they need, and over time, this effect will reduce, leaving the user needing more of the same stimulating substance. Addiction is a disease of the brain that affects the way the brain functions, and once thought of as a moral problem or lack of willpower, now it’s understood to be a disease of the brain.


Prevention of gambling is crucial to preventing problem gambling and its consequences. There is no doubt that gambling can lead to serious consequences, such as anxiety, depression, and problems with family and peers. Problem gambling can even land an individual in trouble with the law. To help prevent problem gambling, should strengthen evidence-based policies and launch specific services for young people. These resources can help reduce the social costs and harm associated with gambling. And, they will educate young people about the facts about gambling and healthy alternatives.