The effects of gambling range from general to specific, and can impact many areas of society. Although gambling can be a fun way to pass time, it can lead to serious consequences if it becomes a problem. The negative impacts of gambling can affect not only individuals, but also society as a whole, as problem gamblers can lead to financial ruin. Not only do they affect the lives of their families, but they can also create substantial costs in social care.
The negative effects of gambling have been studied from different perspectives. Most commonly, negative impacts of gambling are assessed from a public health perspective, based on a scale of severity. Positive impacts of gambling are also considered, but fewer studies have examined the consequences for those who gamble. Negative impacts of gambling have been measured using health-related quality of life weights (HRQLs) – a measure of how much a health state can negatively impact a person’s quality of life. This method is useful for assessing the intangible social costs of gambling. Further, it can be used to study the effects of gambling on people’s social networks, including the family, friends, and co-workers of a gambler.
While gambling is an enjoyable social experience, it should be limited to occasional social situations. A person’s motivation for gambling varies from one individual to another. For some, gambling is a way to escape problems or self-soothe unpleasant emotions. In other cases, gambling is an outlet for boredom. To overcome boredom and prevent addiction, an individual can practice relaxation techniques, spend time with nongambling friends, or practice relaxation techniques. However, the benefits of gambling may be temporary and may not be permanent.