The Economic Impact of Gambling

Although most people gamble for fun, a small percentage become too involved and experience negative personal, family and financial effects. Problem gambling can affect a person’s mental and physical health, relationships, job performance or education, lead to credit problems and even cause bankruptcy. It is also a significant contributor to suicides.

The term “gambling” is defined as an exchange of money or valuables for an uncertain outcome that is determined at least partly by chance. The most common forms of gambling are lotteries, horse racing, and casino games. It can also involve sports betting, and the purchase of scratchcards and lottery tickets. Many countries regulate some form of legal gambling.

Gambling benefits some individuals in that it occupies their idle time, preventing them from engaging in criminal activities such as robberies, theft, burglary and drug peddling, among others. For some, gambling is their sole source of income.

People who have a gambling problem are likely to lie to their family, therapists or others in order to conceal the extent of their involvement. They may feel compelled to gamble even when they are in debt, believing that they will be able to recover their losses if they gamble some more (the “gambler’s fallacy”). They often have trouble with impulse control and find it difficult to stop gambling once they begin. They may secretly hide their money or engage in illegal acts to finance their gambling.

While gambling is not a direct economic impact, the increase in debt associated with pathological gambling does represent a real cost to society. This is a temporary redistribution of funds from one group in society to another and should be factored into economic impact analyses.

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Extra Text
Cape Town, South Africa