Social Costs and Benefits of Gambling
The social costs and benefits of gambling have received very little attention in studies on gambling. Most studies measure the benefits of gambling and its costs, but fail to define social impacts. Walker and Barnett define social costs as harms incurred by someone while benefiting no one. The term “social cost” is not a good fit for gambling research, however. This is because social costs are often more significant than personal costs. So, it is difficult to separate personal and social costs of gambling.
Social acceptability of gambling
A critical measure of the social acceptability of gambling is its prevalence among adolescents. While most adolescents engage in gambling responsibly, a small percentage develops problematic gambling behaviors that can affect their health, relationships, and economic well-being. A study from McGill University found that commercial advertisements of gambling games increase attitudes towards gambling and willingness to participate in the activity. Further research is needed to determine the extent to which commercial advertising influences adolescents’ gambling behaviors.
Impacts on the gambler
The consequences of excessive gambling are not limited to the gambler’s well-being. The social environment can be affected, too, as pathological gambling affects many communities, resulting in increased crime and displacement of local residents. Even more, excessive gambling can result in higher costs of credit throughout the economy. In such cases, strict gambling laws may even hinder the development of society. However, in Denmark and the United Kingdom, there is a legal way to prohibit gambling entirely.
Impacts on significant others
In addition to the person afflicted, a significant other can also suffer as a result of a gambler’s problems. Concerned significant others include parents, spouses, children, and distant friends. In the present study, we examined the effects of gambling on seven other individuals. Some of these people are children, spouses, siblings, or parents. In addition to the person affected by a gambling problem, the other individuals may also include a significant other’s family, friends, colleagues, and relatives.
A recent study estimated that gambling costs society a total of $13,000 per pathological gambler, or $266 per capita adult. The results show that the costs of gambling outweigh the benefits by a factor of more than three to one. In addition, studies have shown that gambling is associated with higher rates of violent, property and non-violent crime in communities with casino locations. In fact, nine to fourteen percent of violent crime in Swedish cities is directly attributable to casinos.
There are a number of surprising health benefits associated with gambling. One study in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis found that individuals who often gambled reported lower rates of depression, as well as better self-reported health. Researchers believe that this is due to increased production of happy chemicals in the brain during game play. Moreover, the benefits of gambling extend beyond the financial ones. These benefits extend to personal satisfaction and enhanced social relationships, as well.
The social costs and benefits of gambling have received very little attention in studies on gambling. Most studies measure the benefits of gambling and its costs, but fail to define social impacts. Walker and Barnett define social costs as harms incurred by someone while benefiting no one. The term “social cost” is not a good…