Economic Impact of Gambling


Gambling refers to all forms of risk-taking where there is an element of chance and the aim is to win. This can include card games, fruit machines or video-draw poker, betting on horse and greyhound races, football accumulators or other sports events, lottery-type games, casino games such as blackjack or roulette and speculating on business, insurance or stock market prices.

People gamble for a variety of reasons, including social, emotional and financial. Some enjoy the excitement of winning, while others take pleasure in thinking about what they would do if they won the lottery or other jackpot prizes. Often gambling becomes addictive because it can make you feel good while you are doing it.

In the case of problem gambling, there are many healthy ways to deal with unpleasant feelings, including exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques. It’s also important to seek help for any underlying mood disorders that could trigger or be made worse by gambling problems, such as depression or anxiety.

Studies that attempt to measure gambling’s economic impact often focus on gross impacts rather than net benefits or costs, and they are generally region-specific and anecdotal. When they do attempt to estimate net effects, the studies tend to place too much emphasis on identifying benefits and not enough on estimating their value (Grinols 1995). These kinds of studies need to be more rigorously applied in order to understand gambling’s true impact.

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