The Social Effects of Gambling


Gambling involves risking something of value, such as money or goods, on an event with a chance of winning. This can include betting on sports events, playing skill-based games like scratchcards or fruit machines, and even betting with friends. While some people enjoy gambling, for others it can have serious health and financial consequences, including causing debt and homelessness. It can also affect family relationships, performance at work or study, and overall mental health. It can even lead to substance abuse and suicide.

Gambling has negative impacts on society, but these are often underestimated. Many studies focus on the monetary cost of gambling, but there are significant social costs as well, which are harder to measure. In the past, researchers have largely ignored these effects, but they are important to consider. They can affect families, friends and other members of a community, as well as businesses in the leisure and hospitality industries.

Problem gamblers are a major source of concern, and their behaviour can harm family, friendships and work. They often conceal their gambling, hide the amount of money they have lost, lie to other people about how much they spend and try to recoup their losses through ever increasing bets – known as chasing your losses. This can have long-term effects, such as affecting an individual’s life course and passing through generations. It is also associated with depression and anxiety. If you are worried about your own gambling habits or those of a friend or relative, it is important to seek help and support.