The Social Costs and Benefits of Gambling

Economic cost-benefit analysis measures changes in the overall level of well-being. Pathological gambling is associated with an increased risk of homicide in the family. There are also risks to individual health and the quality of life, such as increased demand for social services. However, studies have focused less on the social and community level impacts. The majority of studies have been conducted in North America. Nevertheless, there are some implications for communities elsewhere. Read on to learn more about the social costs and benefits of gambling.

Economic cost-benefit analysis measures changes in well-being

This method attempts to measure the positive impacts of gambling by examining the costs of pathological gambling and the harms associated with it in common units. The approach is similar to that used in alcohol and drug research, but includes both the negative and positive effects of gambling. The harms of pathological gambling are often underestimated, but the costs associated with nonproblematic gambling can be just as significant.

Increased demand for social services

One of the problems with gross impact studies is that they do not give a comprehensive view of the economic effects of gambling. Instead, they focus on identifying the economic benefits of gambling, and place relatively little emphasis on evaluating the costs. This leads to an overly simplistic accounting of the aggregate effects of gambling, which does not account for the substitution effect of expenditures and the geographic scope of the analysis. In addition, it neglects to take into account the distinction between direct and indirect effects, as well as real and transfer effects.

Pathological gambling increases the odds of homicide in the family

Research has shown that problem gamblers and pathological gamblers are more likely to commit violent behavior toward their children. About 10 percent of problem gamblers admit to hitting their children, and 6% report hitting their partners. Problem gamblers are more likely than non-gamblers to hit their children. Moreover, likely pathological gamblers are more likely than non-gamblers to commit violent behavior toward their partners. The findings are statistically significant after accounting for related characteristics. The researchers hope their findings will lead to better prevention programs.


A map of the existing evidence for interventions in the prevention of gambling is essential to identify the most effective treatments. A mapping review of review-level evidence aims to identify, appraise, and synthesize existing evidence and identify gaps. Interventions in this field are highly relevant to the prevention of gambling, but they also have a significant drawback. The gambling industry’s response to proposals to regulate or restrict commercial activities will likely be strong. Arguments against such proposals include the lack of robust evidence on the effectiveness of various approaches.


While the treatment for gambling addiction may vary from one person to another, the first step is admitting you have a problem. While this may strain relationships, it is imperative to understand that the withdrawal symptoms you experience when you stop gambling are normal and healthy. If your addiction has drained your savings or caused financial hardship, you should be willing to own up to your mistakes and accept that others will be disappointed and angry with you. If you feel that you may need to seek professional help, you should contact a gambling addiction treatment center.