External Costs of Gambling


Gambling involves betting on something that has an element of randomness or chance and can be done online, by phone or in person. Examples include putting money on the horse race, football accumulators and lottery games. Whether it’s the lotto, poker machines or a scratchcard, gambling products are designed to keep people gambling and can cause harm.

In addition to the negative impacts of gambling, some research also indicates positive social aspects. For example, older adults who gambled reported greater satisfaction with life and were more positive about their future than those who did not. Additionally, seniors who visited casinos enjoyed the opportunity to socialize with friends and family.

External costs of gambling are categorized as financial, labor and health and well-being. These effects occur at the personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels. Financial impacts can include changes in the financial situation of gamblers, including debt and credit, which can affect family members. Labor impacts can be related to work, such as loss of productivity, absenteeism and reduced performance, and can lead to job losses and unemployment. Health and well-being impacts may include psychological or physical damage.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction, seek professional help. Consider family, marriage and/or career counseling or joining a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. In addition, try to find healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings or boredom such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble or practicing relaxation techniques.

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