There are many costs related to gambling. Many of these costs are invisible to the gambler, but can have long-term impacts on the community. Invisible costs may become visible at the social or community level, such as when a gambler’s family or friends seek help. Other costs, however, remain invisible and unrecognized.
Impacts of gambling on community
The social costs associated with gambling are often overlooked and are not quantifiable, but they do occur. These costs have been estimated to be at least EUR1419 million per year, including the direct and indirect costs. Of these costs, approximately two-thirds are intangible and deserve more attention. Problem gambling affects a wide range of individuals and communities, resulting in both positive and negative societal impacts.
Although the benefits of gambling are widely recognized, their effects are not completely understood. Most studies focus on economic effects and ignore the social ones. While gambling can contribute to a healthy community by increasing tourism and reducing illegal gambling, it can also increase crime and negatively impact community life.
Costs of gambling
The costs of gambling are often hard to quantify. They include direct, indirect and intangible costs. In Sweden, for example, the total societal costs of problem gambling were EUR1419 million in 2018. Direct costs made up 13% of the total, while indirect costs accounted for 832 million euros, or 59%. Intangible costs, on the other hand, accounted for 403 million euros, or 28%.
Another cost to gambling is lost quality of life. Those who engage in problem gambling may face threats of violence from loan sharks. According to a Swelogs survey, approximately 10% of problem gamblers have experienced physical violence within the past 12 months. That’s an excess share, which corresponds to about ten thousand people with gambling-related problems.
Social costs of gambling
The social costs of gambling are a matter of debate, with many estimates varying widely. However, there is agreement on some general elements, including that gambling increases the likelihood of crime and societal costs. For example, a study from the National Council on Problem Gambling estimated that gambling costs the U.S. economy $7 billion per year in the form of crime, healthcare spending, and job losses, among other things. These costs were based on a 1999 study by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and were adjusted for inflation and current rates of problem gambling.
Grinols argues that gambling is a destructive and addictive activity that affects society. However, it should be noted that a vast majority of people do not gamble, and those who do gamble only infrequently. As a result, the gaming industry makes the majority of its profits from a small minority of addicted gamblers. While the social costs of gambling are widespread, the most serious impacts are felt by the poorest and most deprived.
Financial harms of gambling
There are many financial harms associated with gambling. These can affect an individual or a group of people. These impacts include negative impacts on an individual’s performance, relationships with others, and even the bottom line of an employer. Among problem gamblers, the effects can be particularly severe, with up to 40% reporting changes in employment and job performance and fewer work hours. These effects may also result in criminal activity at work.
People with poor health or low socioeconomic status are more likely to experience financial harms from problem gambling. Those with psychotic disorders or indigenous backgrounds are also more vulnerable. Poverty is also associated with the number of people who experience financial hardship due to gambling.
Impacts of gambling on employment
The economic and social costs associated with gambling are often neglected in research. However, the costs of problem gambling are not just limited to the individual – the impacts on small and medium businesses are also significant. These impacts are difficult to quantify but, if understood, can help guide public policy. The societal cost of gambling is an important consideration for policy makers. It can affect the economy by reducing wages and increasing stress. Moreover, problem gambling can negatively affect the safety and health of workers.
There are various studies available to understand the economic impact of gambling. Some studies focus on the negative effects of gambling on employment and the costs of crime associated with the activity. These studies have found that the overall cost of lost productivity associated with gambling is between US$6 million and $39.6 million in the United States. In Victoria, for example, the cost of gambling-related absenteeism and crime was about $22.5 million in 2014-15. However, these figures do not account for the increased number of suicides and crimes.