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The Social Impacts of Gambling


The act of gambling involves placing an uncertain bet on a particular outcome, such as a football match or scratchcard. The gambler chooses to place a bet and then matches that choice to the ‘odds’, which are the chance of winning. Odds are calculated by comparing the probability of winning with the amount that could be won.

Gambling is a common way to relieve boredom, relax and socialize. However, there are many healthier ways to manage unpleasant feelings and deal with boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, practicing relaxation techniques or taking up new hobbies.

Some people may not recognise that their gambling is becoming problematic and instead hide their activities from family members or work colleagues. They may even lie about how much they gamble and try to convince others that their behaviour is not harmful. If you are worried that your gambling is causing harm, there are organisations that can provide support and assistance to help you overcome your problem.

Studies of the benefits and costs of gambling have tended to focus on economic issues, such as revenue, job creation, and expenditure on goods and services. In contrast, social impacts are invisible and cannot be easily measured in monetary terms, such as emotional stress and relationship problems caused by gambling. Using health-related quality of life (HRQL) weights, known as disability weights, may be a good way to explore these social impacts.