Gambling involves placing a wager on something random, usually with the intent of winning something else of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. The odds are set by the betting company, such as a football team or scratchcards, and these determine how much money you could win. As with all forms of gambling, there are risks and potential losses, but these can be minimised by taking care of yourself and following responsible gambling advice.
In the past, some people have gambled to excess and become compulsive gamblers – this can damage relationships, affect their health, work or study, leave them in debt and even result in homelessness. This has caused concern in many countries and communities and led to a number of initiatives to reduce gambling-related harms. These may include warnings to be cautious of online betting websites, or limiting access to bank accounts and credit cards. In addition, there are services that offer support, assistance and counselling for those who are suffering the effects of problem gambling.
However, some research has shown that gambling is not just an activity for young adults. The problem can also occur in older people and is prevalent among seniors living in residential facilities, such as nursing homes. In this case, the residents in question often hide their gambling habits from caregivers and others who are concerned about their financial state. In addition, they have been known to steal their relatives’ cash and use the money to fund their habit.
Despite the fact that gambling has a positive impact on the economy, this benefit is often overshadowed by the negative impacts of gambling on society and gamblers. This is due to Miles’ Law – wherein those who have the most to gain economically from the gambling operation will support it – and the resulting conflict of interests. Electoral politicians, municipal bureaucrats who are promised gambling revenue and owners of casinos frequently oppose restrictions on their businesses.
The economic benefits of gambling are not well researched because they are often overlooked in a comparison of gambling to other activities. Moreover, a large part of the costs associated with gambling are non-monetary and thus challenging to quantify. In addition, personal and interpersonal impacts are often excluded from calculations due to their subjective nature.
The psychological and societal effects of gambling can be divided into three categories: personal, interpersonal, and community/society levels. The personal level includes impacts that directly affect a gambler, while the interpersonal and community/society levels include impacts on people who are not a direct target of the gambling activities, such as family members and friends. Furthermore, these effects can also have long-term and intergenerational consequences. Moreover, the methodological challenges that are faced in the evaluation of gambling impacts are similar to those encountered in the analysis of other activities, such as alcohol consumption and drug use. This article describes a framework for the evaluation of these impacts. This framework is intended to serve as a foundation for the development of common methodologies for assessing gambling impacts.