Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event with a chance of winning something else of value. It is an activity that can be fun and exciting, but it can also be dangerous if done in excess. People gamble for many reasons, including to win money, for the adrenaline rush, to socialize with friends or to escape from stress and worries. Some people may have a gambling addiction and need help to stop gambling. There are many ways to get help, such as getting treatment or joining a support group like Gamblers Anonymous.
The impacts of gambling can be negative or positive and they may affect the gambler, their significant others and the community/society. Several studies have examined gambling’s impact on personal, interpersonal, and community/society levels, with the most extensive research focusing on financial and labor impacts. Social impacts, however, have received less attention, in part because of the difficulty of measuring them.
In general, social impacts are defined as costs or benefits that aggregate societal real wealth, such as health-related quality of life (HRQL) weights, but do not directly affect the individual gambler. However, these effects often have an indirect effect on a gambler’s significant others and the community/society. Therefore, a public health approach to the study of gambling is needed that incorporates a more holistic definition of social impacts.