The Effects of Gambling on Society


While there is no one single study of gambling’s impact on society, the majority of studies focus on individual and community-level impacts. The negative consequences of gambling are most pronounced in the retail and recreational sector. Small businesses, particularly, are more susceptible to the negative impacts of gambling due to higher shop rents and staff retention. However, some studies have focused on the societal and cultural effects of gambling, as well. There are many different ways that people can benefit from gambling.

The problem of gambling is usually more prevalent in men than in women. The risk of compulsive gambling is greater for women, but it is important to recognize that women can become addicted to gambling as well. Generally, there are three or four times more people affected by gambling problems than the general population. While 30% of adults in New Zealand have knowledge of someone with a gambling problem, only 8% have personally suffered harm as a result of this condition. Children of gamblers often experience even greater levels of harm than the general population. Partners are the most likely to report financial effects from gambling.

Other costs of gambling have been documented. The increased incidence of violence, driving under the influence, and theft are all related to the growth of casinos and gaming facilities. Increased population and tourism contribute to these increases. Pathological gambling is estimated to cost the police between $51 and $243 million annually. Additionally, problem gambling is a significant cause of crime and increases crime. In addition, the increased costs of gambling are not solely personal but affect the entire society, including the economy.

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