Gambling is a common activity in many countries, but it has significant negative impacts on individuals and their families. These impacts can also impact the wider community and society as a whole. This article will explore the positive and negative impacts of gambling and will also look at ways that people can try to reduce their gambling habits.
There are a number of reasons why people gamble, for example the adrenaline rush, socialising or escape from problems and stress. However, for some people gambling becomes a serious problem and can lead to financial difficulties. It’s important to understand the risks and seek help if you think you might have a gambling problem. There are a number of different treatments and support groups for those who struggle with gambling addiction.
People who gamble can be influenced by a variety of factors, including their personalities and family and social circumstances. Some people may feel a strong need to be in control and to achieve goals. This can cause them to place high bets and risk losing large amounts of money. In some cases, this can lead to gambling addiction which can be difficult to treat.
It is possible to stop gambling addiction if you are able to recognise the signs. This can include spending more time than you intend to on gambling, borrowing money, or feeling stressed and anxious about your gambling behaviour. If you are struggling with a gambling addiction, there are a range of treatment options available, including counselling and residential programmes.
Traditionally, gambling research has focused on monetary impacts – which are easy to quantify and analyse – rather than social or personal impacts – which are harder to measure. This has led to a biased view of the issue, which neglects the significant harms associated with gambling. It is therefore important to incorporate a wide range of impacts into future studies.
The conceptual model developed here offers a basis on which to start developing a common methodology for assessing the social impact of gambling. It can be used to locate existing empirical work and highlight areas where further research is needed. For example, little research has been carried out examining gambling impacts on the significant others of gamblers. This is a critical area for a public health approach to the gambling debate.
Longitudinal research in gambling is also needed, but has been difficult to carry out. This is because longitudinal studies require a large commitment of resources and are vulnerable to sample attrition, aging effects, and period effects (e.g., a person’s sudden interest in gambling could be because they have reached the age of majority or because a new casino opened nearby).
However, longitudinal research is becoming more commonplace and sophisticated, and is beginning to be theory-based. This is essential to a more comprehensive evidence base on gambling impacts and can help inform policy development. It can also assist in identifying the key drivers of gambling behaviour and help identify targets for intervention.