The Costs and Benefits of Gambling


Gambling can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also lead to serious financial problems and even homelessness. It can affect your relationships, work performance, and even the health of your family and friends. In the UK, Public Health England estimates that over 400 people per year commit suicide as a result of problem gambling.

Whether it’s in a casino, a horse track or the local pub, gambling is a popular pastime for many people around the world. While some people enjoy playing poker, blackjack or roulette, others become addicted to these games and lose control over their spending habits.

While it is difficult to measure the cost of gambling, research into the costs and benefits of pathological gambling is an important issue. Identifying and estimating the costs of gambling is not a straightforward task, since it requires consideration of the following: real costs versus economic transfers; tangible and intangible effects; direct and indirect effects; present and future values (i.e., discounting) and gains and losses experienced by different groups in various settings (Gramlich, 1990:229).

Economic Benefits of Gambling

There are some clear economic benefits to playing the lottery, horse races or the pokies. These include the tax paid by the casinos and the jobs provided to staff at these establishments. In the United States alone, the gambling industry generated over 166,741 jobs in 2018.

Socializing and Mental Development

Gambling can lead to socializing and mental development, and can be very beneficial for individuals who are in poor social situations or low self-esteem. In addition, it is a good way to develop skill and strategy. It also stimulates the brain and improves memory.

Physical Activity and Recovery

Those who struggle with gambling can benefit from regular exercise. Getting exercise helps to strengthen your body and mind, and it will make you less likely to fall back into gambling again. Getting active can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, which are two common symptoms of problematic gambling.

Strengthen Your Support Network

One of the best ways to overcome a gambling addiction is to seek professional help. There are many programs and services available for those suffering from an addiction to gambling, including inpatient or residential treatment facilities.

A key element of these programs is to find a sponsor, someone who has been through the recovery process before. This person can provide you with guidance and support throughout the journey to recovery.

Peer Support

Another great way to overcome a gambling addiction is to join a peer support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous. These groups use a 12-step program to help those who are in the grips of gambling addiction.

Recovering from a gambling addiction can be very challenging, but with the right tools and resources, it is possible to break free. These include self-help materials, support from other recovering gamblers, and a willingness to continue working toward a life that is free of gambling harms.