Most studies on gambling have focused on the economic costs and benefits associated with gambling, rather than its social impact. While economic costs and benefits are the most important considerations in any gambling decision, there are social costs as well. The social costs associated with gambling are those caused to someone, rather than to no one, and are less tangible than personal costs.
Impacts of gambling at the personal, interpersonal, and community/society levels
Gambling can negatively impact individuals and communities in many ways. There are impacts on the individual level, which include financial costs incurred by problem gamblers and their families. There are also external costs, which can include infrastructure costs or lost economic activity. While many of these costs are invisible at the personal level, they become visible at the community and societal level. Community/societal impacts can include long-term costs and benefits of gambling.
The impact of gambling is often overlooked and understudied. Researchers often struggle to obtain comprehensive data and substitute assumptions for missing data. Often, these assumptions are not tested, and they may reflect the bias of the analyst. As a result, critical estimates from one study are often misapplied to other settings.
Treatment for compulsive gamblers
Treatment for compulsive gamblers involves identifying the causes and triggers of compulsive gambling and helping the person stop. The compulsive gambler may also need help from family members or a mental health provider. The first step in treatment is to complete a self-assessment, which involves describing all the feelings that the compulsive gambler has and the effects of gambling. The person should also note recent changes in their life. Any medications they are currently taking should also be listed.
Gambling addiction treatment programs in the United States are scarce. Most programs are based in psychiatric hospitals. There are roughly 40 such programs in about two dozen states. Treatment methods are similar to those for treating other addictive disorders. However, few treatment professionals recognize the symptoms of compulsive gambling in their clients and few programs specialize in treating this particular type of gambling.
Cost-benefit analysis of gambling
A cost-benefit analysis of gambling identifies the benefits and costs of the activity. While the positive aspects of gambling may include improved social conditions and a healthier population, the costs of gambling can be significant and hard to measure. These include costs to the individual, the community, and the economy. In some cases, the benefits of gambling outweigh the negative ones.
While economic costs are the most obvious, the social costs of gambling are often neglected. Problem gambling is accompanied by a host of social and emotional costs. These costs are not measurable in terms of dollars, but they may affect future generations. As such, a thorough cost-benefit analysis of gambling must consider these social costs, as they have implications for future regulation of gambling.
In economic cost-benefit analyses of gambling, several variables must be considered, including the cost to society, the benefits to individuals, and the uncertainty in the parameters. A cost-benefit analysis of gambling should take into account both positive and negative effects to ensure a balanced approach.