While gambling for money is a popular form of recreation in many countries, the social and economic costs of this activity are significant. Impact studies on gambling can help researchers and policymakers determine which policies are most effective in reducing costs and increasing benefits. Using a public health perspective, impact studies can evaluate the economic and social costs of gambling across a wide range of severity.
Problem gamblers often experience financial problems due to their gambling. In fact, a recent study found that 83% of problem gamblers experienced financial hardship as a result of their gambling habits. However, these problems were not limited to problem gamblers. In fact, nongamblers and at-risk gamblers both reported experiencing financial difficulties as a result of their gambling habits. Financial problems can range from depleting savings to losing all of a person’s possessions.
Gambling also impacts the people around the gambler. The impacts can be observed at an individual, interpersonal, and societal level. These impacts can have long-term consequences, affecting the lives of entire communities and generations. Some of the most severe negative consequences of gambling include homelessness and bankruptcy. However, this does not mean that gambling is completely without positive social consequences.
In the United States, gambling has been widely popular for centuries. However, it has also been suppressed by law in many areas. In the early twentieth century, gambling was almost universally outlawed. However, this did not prevent the growth of the mafia and other criminal organizations. In recent decades, attitudes toward gambling have changed and many laws have been relaxed.