Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event whose outcome depends on chance and where instances of strategy are discounted. There are many types of gambling including card games, electronic casino games such as video-draw poker or slot machines and table games like roulette or baccarat. Other forms of gambling are horse and dog races, football accumulators and lotteries. These activities are usually considered to be illegal by some governments. In recent years, some jurisdictions have begun to legalize and promote gambling as a way to stimulate economic development. These activities can be a significant source of government revenue and create jobs with good benefits. They also can provide a way to assist deprived groups in society. However, the success of gambling as a tool for economic development will depend on resolution of conflicting viewpoints.
Despite the fact that many people have negative opinions of gambling, it is still widely practiced in some parts of the world. Some people find it enjoyable, while others believe that gambling is addictive and can cause a variety of health problems. Several studies have shown that gambling can have positive as well as negative impacts on gamblers and their family members. These effects can be structuralized using a model that divides impacts into three classes: financial, labor and health, and well-being. The class of impacts that concern the gamblers themselves are referred to as individual or internal impacts. The interpersonal and community/societal levels of gambling impacts are referred to as external impacts. These affect other people who are not the gamblers themselves, such as family members and friends.
The most common impacts associated with gambling are financial in nature. This type of impact is usually observable at the personal level and includes debt, gambling addiction and other related health issues. In some cases, these impacts can even lead to bankruptcy and homelessness. Other negative gambling impacts are social and psychological. These include family stress and the loss of a sense of control. Various social costs can also be associated with gambling, such as poor family relationships, increased risk taking behavior and emotional distress.
In the past, research into gambling impacts has focused on economic aspects of the activity, which are relatively easy to quantify. However, little attention has been paid to the social dimensions of gambling. This is likely due to the difficulty of measuring social impacts in terms of monetary units. A new approach to gambling impacts is needed, one that uses a public health framework. This framework can include the use of health-related quality of life (HRQL) weights, known as disability weights, to discover gambling harms that are intangible and cannot be measured in dollars. This new approach can be used to discover societal real wealth changes associated with gambling, and it may allow for the inclusion of social impacts in analyses of gambling’s economic costs and benefits.