Gambling is the act of betting something of value on a random event, usually with a chance of winning a prize. It is a popular recreational activity in most countries. But it also has some negative effects.
Gambling is an international commercial activity. Its positive impact on society depends on many factors. Those are the availability of gambling, its source of revenues, and the effectiveness of gambling policies.
Gambling is a risky activity. Although it does provide social rewards, it can also have negative effects on individuals and communities. These impacts can manifest in different forms. Some of these include financial and health impacts.
Most studies have focused on the economic costs of gambling. However, some studies have attempted to determine the positive impact of gambling by considering the consumer surplus.
There are also studies that examine the psychological effects of gambling. Studies suggest that gamblers may gain pleasure from small wins, which can help maintain optimism during hard life circumstances. And gambling may be a way for senior citizens to reinforce their self-concepts.
Intangible harms, including the suffering of problem gamblers, are also recognized. Even if the individual stops playing, the harms can persist.
Financial impacts are the most obvious, but they can be seen at the community or interpersonal level as well. They include changes in finances and gambling revenues, as well as infrastructure and labor costs. Small businesses are particularly prone to these issues.
Other intangible costs are less obvious. Individuals or families can experience loneliness or self-blame for their gambling habits.