For most societies, land-based and online gambling are just recreational activities. They are practiced almost everywhere across the globe, legally or illegally. People love betting, and they love their own favorite casino table games like poker, blackjack, roulette, or even more esoteric lotteries and online bingo games.
Yet, a lot of people have a negative perspective about gambling's effects on society. In this article, we are going to debate how individuals and communities are affected by gambling. We will also discuss how we can identify and deal with problems associated with gambling.
Negative Impact of Gambling on Society
We will now outline some of the negative impacts that gambling has on society. For many gambling is something that represents fun for all but sadly this is not always the case and for some, it can become somewhat of a living nightmare.
Impact among families
Gamblers are not the only ones affected by addictive gambling in society. Studies show that it is the gambler's own family that is mostly affected by their addictive gambling habits. A gambler's partner could sense a predicament in their relationship, but they may not bring it up due to their marital status. Relationships between a gambler and their family members, friends and coworkers may wane due to their excessive gambling habits.
People closest to the gambler may not trust them with money and may think less of them if their gambling habit starts getting out of hand as many would not take as seriously a gambling addiction as they would some other forms of addiction.
Impact on Crime
As gambling becomes more prevalent day by day, so do the crimes related to it. Critics of gambling argue that these activities eventually lead to social evils and other illicit activities. Drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and bankruptcy are some of the problems that can arise from gambling.
Of course, gambling helps the economy and provides job opportunities but it also leads to an increase in crime rates as well. The games are designed to ensure the house wins most of the time, poverty-stricken societies will resort to crime to make up for the money lost while gambling.
Impact on Business
While gambling activities have been shown to raise tax revenues, and create job opportunities in some areas they have also had quite a few adverse effects on local businesses. Most firms will include pool games for employees to partake in leisure activities during their breaks. Critics consider office pools to be unethical and unprofessional in business environments. As office pools lead to a conflict of interest between employees and legal issues for the business.
Gambling at the office may seem like a harmless fun activity but it can lead to disharmony in the workplace. It could ultimately lead to low productivity, lesser employee satisfaction, and also an
increase in turnover rate. It can also lead to fraud, theft, and embezzlement. Office pools are not illegal, but it does not mean there are no legal risks involved.
Impact on Mental Health
The psychological effects of gambling start slow at first and eventually build up to disastrous levels. At first, gamblers will be entranced by the idea of 'winning is fun, but the house will win most of the time. Gamblers are often emotionally stressed; their behavior becomes more erratic as they become short-tempered. Research has shown that gamblers feel guilt and regret spending money at casinos.
The psychological effects of gambling will fully show after the gambler lashes out at their close ones. The mental health of a gambler will deteriorate over time and they might pose a danger to those around them.
Signs of Problem Gambling
According to recent statistics, millions of people across the world struggle with gambling addiction problems. Gambling addiction is the point where a person continues to gamble despite being well-aware of the negative impact. Gambling addicts will often be compelled to seek out sports betting, and wagering opportunities despite the risk of incurring a financial loss and straining their relationships with closed ones.
People struggling with a gambling addiction will try to hide their issues and often isolate themselves from others. They might continue to gamble in secrecy and ensure no one learns about their problems out of shame.
To spot someone with a gambling addiction problem, here are a few early warning signs to keep an eye out for:
- They will spend less time with friends and family in recreational activities
- They will spend more money on gambling and thus have low savings
- They will consume alcohol more frequently
- They will be under emotional stress and show signs of guilt
Here are advanced signs of a gambling addiction implying that the gambler is far too deep into their problem:
- Their current relationships will falter and they will try to distance themselves from their loved ones
- Students with addiction may perform low at school and have lower grades
- Employees will be less productive and will be absent from work more frequently
- The gambler will be facing financial difficulties due to their bad spending habits
- They will be prone to violence and will be aggravated by the slightest inconvenience
- Gamblers will feel shame and hopelessness while isolating themselves from others
Thankfully though this shouldn't be something completely out of our control. Here are some things that you can do if you are a person you care about who appears to be struggling with problem gambling or gambling addiction.
Take back control
Gambling addiction can take hold of your life. It compels you to keep gambling despite the consequences. Take control of your life back, plan ahead, and set goals in your life. Think of what you want to achieve, and focus on achieving your ambitions. In doing so, you will distract yourself from the temptations, and also work on your future.
Gamblers may also need to avoid high-risk situations that will compel them to relapse. These situations mostly occur when you are carrying a large sum of money when socializing. Be responsible, and carry a limited amount of money with yourself to prevent excessive spending or potentially gambling.
Managing funds properly
Managing your finances is another great way to relinquish gambling addiction. Financial losses are common problems associated with gambling. By managing your funds responsibly, you are taking the necessary steps towards quitting your gambling habits.
Here are some tips to consider when managing funds:
- Contact someone trustworthy to help you in managing your daily expenses
- Only carry a limited amount of funds and avoid carrying credit or debit cards
- Avoid keeping large sums of money at home to avoid the temptation
- Speak with your bank representative to limit the amount of money you withdraw from the ATM
- Save money for something you can truly cherish like a new phone, your dream car or a vacation
Finding Positive Activities
Gambling addicts will often feel tempted to bet or wager on an event. To satisfy the urge to gamble, consider partaking in recreational activities with family and friends. Indulging in fun activities is a great way to not only resist the temptation of gambling but also distract yourself from gambling. Any activity that requires your full concentration will help fight the urge to continue gambling.
Gamblers usually feel shame and guilt in regard to their addiction. They will often reduce contact with others and live in seclusion. Facing your feelings and reaching out to others for help will surely reduce the temptation to gamble. Asking for help is not to be associated with shame, but should rather be considered as a sign of responsibility and great maturity. These are the necessary steps towards rehabilitation.
How is gambling bad for families?
Gambling affects intimate partners, and other family members as well. It creates a rift between family members due to a single person's gambling addiction. Impaired relationships and financial loss are common impacts of gambling on families.
What are the effects of gambling on crime?
Gambling inadvertently leads to crime in a community. Financial loss from gambling can cause anyone to indulge in illegal activities. Theft, fraud, and embezzlement are common crimes related to gambling.
What are some common signs of gambling problems?
Financial loss and isolation are the common signs of a gambling problem. Gambling addicts will isolate themselves and can react aggressively when disturbed.
Why gambling is bad for mental health?
Psychological effects of gambling include emotional stress and aggression. Gamblers are short-tempered and can be easily irritated. They are also restless and feel guilty when isolated.
How to help people with gambling problems?
Support their struggle in an attempt to quit gambling. Help them manage their funds, and ensure they do not spend unnecessarily. Communicate freely and openly and try to get them professional help.
The answer to the question "Is gambling bad for society?" is purely subjective based on one's own personal experiences with it. It can have numerous adverse effects as we discussed but will we still consider this a negative phenomenon once we learn about its positive side? We believe betting can be a fun experience for all but certainly appreciate that under the wrong circumstances it can also be a recipe for disaster.
This article was published on October 5, 2021, and last updated on October 26, 2022.