Public Health Conceptual Model of the Effects of Gambling



Gambling is an activity wherein something of value, usually money, is placed on a random event with the intent to win a prize. The prizes could be anything from a small amount of cash to a life-changing jackpot. Gambling is illegal in some countries and regions, but it is still a popular pastime that can generate substantial revenue for the government and support various causes and projects. Despite its potential for addiction and financial loss, gambling can also have positive impacts on individuals and society. The purpose of this article is to review complementing and contrasting views on the effects of gambling to create a conceptual model of the impacts from a public health perspective.

A major negative impact of gambling is its addictive properties, which can cause individuals to engage in risky behaviors and spend more money than they can afford to lose. This can lead to serious problems such as debt, bankruptcy and even suicide. Additionally, problem gamblers can have a difficult time dealing with stress, anxiety and depression. As a result, they often use gambling to relieve these symptoms and escape reality for short term relief. However, this can create a vicious cycle of stress relief and increased gambling activity.

Another negative impact of gambling is its cost to society, which can include lost tax revenue, higher prices for goods and services, and reduced social capital. While many studies have examined the economic costs of gambling, fewer have looked at its social impacts on individual gamblers and their significant others. A public health approach can provide a framework for examining these impacts by using health-related quality of life (HRQL) weights, or disability weights, to discover intangible social costs.