While the positive economic impacts of gambling have been studied extensively, few studies have examined how this activity affects the gamblers themselves. There are also negative impacts to consider, but the positive effects of gambling are more difficult to quantify. Health-related quality of life weights, or ‘disability weights,’ measure the intangible social costs of gambling. The use of disability weights helps researchers understand the effects of gambling on people and communities, ranging from individuals to the entire social network.
Economic cost-benefit analysis has also been used to evaluate the economic effects of gambling. This method seeks to determine the benefits and costs of gambling across the severity spectrum, from the marginal to the pathological. By focusing on pathological gambling, economic costing studies underestimate the costs that gambling has on society and its participants. However, economic cost-benefit analysis can help us see the positive effects of gambling, including their economic and social costs. The societal costs of gambling should not be discounted.
Despite its positive impacts on the economy, there are also negative effects on the community. The impacts of gambling are generally classified in three categories: interpersonal, social, and economic. At the personal level, the social impacts are invisible and mostly unrecognized. The monetary impacts are primarily monetary, and include costs of a casino or gambling-related industry, infrastructure costs, and individual and community financial situations. Moreover, the social costs of gambling include the reduction of productivity, job creation, and economic activity.