The Positive and Negative Impacts of Gambling

Gambling is the placing of something of value, usually money, on an uncertain event with awareness that there is risk and in hope of gain. It ranges from lottery tickets purchased by people with very little income to sophisticated casino gambling done for profit or as a pastime. Regardless of how it is done, gambling has both positive and negative impacts. These impacts can be measured at individual, interpersonal, and community/society levels and may change over time.

The positive impacts of gambling include the enjoyment and excitement associated with it. People also benefit from the social interaction involved in gambling, such as a friendly game of poker with friends or a wager on a sports event. Despite these positives, many people become addicted to gambling and suffer from the consequences. Some of these consequences are financial, such as debt and bankruptcy. Others are social, such as the stress on families and communities.

The negative effects of gambling are often overlooked, but they can be devastating to the gambler and their family. Those who are struggling with gambling addiction should seek help. They can find support from loved ones and peers, and from groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous.