Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event with the intention of winning a prize. A gambler can place a bet on sports events, horse races, casino games or even the lottery. While it is often considered a form of entertainment, gambling can also be addictive and have many negative impacts. It can affect a person’s family, finances, health and well-being. However, it is important to remember that there are also positive effects of gambling. Some of these include socializing, mental development and skill improvement.
This article aims to review complementing and contrasting views on the positive and negative effects of gambling from a public health perspective. In this context, the concept of a public health model is applied to structurally organize the available literature on gambling impacts. The model identifies costs and benefits in three classes: financial, labor and health, and well-being. These classes manifest in personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels (Fig. 1). It is important to distinguish between these levels because some of the impacts can have long-term consequences that span several generations.
In general, the benefits of gambling include increased incomes and reduced economic problems such as poverty and unemployment. The monetary gains from gambling can stimulate local economies and encourage tourism. Additionally, gambling revenues can be used to fund essential community services and infrastructure projects. However, some of the monetary benefits of gambling may be offset by an increase in debt or financial strain. In addition, gambling can have a negative impact on workers’ productivity and can contribute to job losses.
The negative effects of gambling can be mitigated by providing appropriate treatment for gambling addiction and addressing underlying conditions such as depression or bipolar disorder. While a lot of work remains to be done, a variety of treatments are currently available for gambling addicts. In particular, cognitive-behavior therapy teaches gambling addicts to confront their irrational beliefs and avoid triggers that lead to gambling behavior. In addition, psychiatric medications are often used to treat underlying conditions that can cause or exacerbate gambling addictions.
In the United States, there are more than 20 million people who are addicted to gambling. Although the majority of these individuals are not formally diagnosed with gambling addiction, it is still common for them to experience symptoms that interfere with their daily functioning. These symptoms can include depression, anxiety and irritability. Some of these individuals are also in denial about their problem and do not seek help for it. As a result, they are likely to continue gambling. This is an alarming fact since more Americans are gambling today than ever before. They are gambling on the internet, in casinos and even at home using the