Public Health Issue: The Effects of Problem Gambling

A public health issue, problem gambling is widespread. Though it benefits society and a portion of the population, it can ruin lives. There are several signs of gambling addiction, including a decrease in self-control and an increase in craving. These are only a few of the warning signs. Read on to discover more about this serious disease. A brief review of these signs will help you recognize them. In addition, you can learn how to control your own urges.

Problem gambling is a public health issue

As the incidence of problem gambling rises, research into its effects is becoming more relevant to the public health debate. Recent studies show that gambling-related harms are closely linked with other issues, including substance misuse, intimacy, homelessness, and psychological disorders. A recent telephone survey by the UK Gambling Commission suggests that 4% of respondents may be at risk of harm as a result of their gambling habits. Meanwhile, the full 2016 Health Survey identified problem gambling as a risk factor for 0.7% of the population.

It is widespread

The spread of gambling is largely due to two factors: government acceptance and state revenue needs. When one state legalizes a form of gambling, other states follow suit. In fact, the current wave of legal lotteries began in New Hampshire and has since spread to other North-Eastern states and beyond. Despite the varying degrees of success, many people continue to gamble for fun. This article will discuss the various ways that gambling is widespread.

It is beneficial to society

There are various ways to measure whether or not gambling is beneficial to society. Some studies have concluded that it has positive effects on employment and wages. Casino tourism is a major economic driver for a region and contributes to local wage levels. However, there have also been several negative impacts of gambling on society, including increased crime and driving under the influence of alcohol. Problem gambling is also associated with social inequality, with higher-income households spending more money on gambling than lower-income households. In addition, problem gamblers contribute to the costs of prisons and incarceration.

It can destroy lives

Problem gambling affects everyone, no matter age, income, or education. One recent tragedy involved a man in the Philippines who killed several people at a gambling casino, and then shot himself inside the hotel. While the crime was tragic, the man’s gambling addiction was a primary motivating factor. The video below illustrates how gambling addiction can lead to tragic consequences. It also shows how it can affect a person’s relationships with family and friends.

It can be prevented

While preventing gambling may seem like a noble goal, a public education strategy is not as simple as it seems. Although effective at changing attitudes and reducing misconceptions, educational interventions have limited effects on behaviour. While reducing misconceptions about gambling and increasing knowledge about problem gambling are important goals, such approaches may inadvertently reinforce harmful patterns of behavior. This is why early prevention strategies should not dominate the conversation on preventing gambling.

It can be treated

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways that problem gamblers can address their issues. Professional counseling is widely available. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, can address the root causes of compulsive gambling. Individuals who are struggling with a gambling addiction often undergo one-on-one therapy, which is beneficial for problem gamblers. CBT involves modifying the way a person thinks about gambling. The goal of CBT is to help people overcome their urges to gamble and stop.

The Consequences of Gambling

The consequences of gambling are observed on a personal, interpersonal, and community level. Those close to a gambler, such as family members, friends, or work colleagues, are negatively impacted by the behavior. The social and financial consequences of excessive gambling can range from homelessness to bankruptcy. Some people who gamble are unaware of their negative consequences. Fortunately, there are many ways to limit gambling and prevent its negative consequences. But before discussing these effects, it is helpful to first understand why gambling is so detrimental.


Often, adolescents with gambling problems view the activity as a way to cope with the stress and depression that plague them on a daily basis. While some youth do engage in criminal behavior outside of the home to acquire money, others borrow large sums of cash from loan sharks, friends, or family. As these situations become chronic, the adolescent’s preoccupation with gambling takes over their life. However, even these youths can have good days and bad days.


A recent study has explored the views of key informants in health, social care and other agencies, including the voluntary sector, about the harm caused by gambling. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of people working in these sectors and to understand what supports they could provide to help prevent gambling among adults. The findings highlight the challenges that gambling can pose for adults with a range of different needs, including physical and mental health. Listed below are some of the key points raised in the report.


A recent survey found that 40% of respondents reported that problem gambling impacts their communities, ranking it above other significant public health problems such as drug abuse, alcoholism, and depression. Communities of color, especially those with high levels of poverty, are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of gambling addiction. Evidence-based legislation should support culturally relevant prevention programs. And while problem gambling affects both men and women equally, the negative impact is greater for minority groups.

Costs of gambling

Despite its positive impact on the economy, gambling does not come without costs. Problem gambling can cause severe financial stress, resulting in physical and mental illnesses. These can include chronic headaches, intestinal problems, and cognitive disorders. These illnesses can lead to losses in the form of therapy, Medicaid payments, and social services. Other financial losses may result from embezzlement and employee theft. These costs are not immediately visible. However, they can add up to a significant sum over the long term.

Social capital

Studies on social capital have examined how the introduction of casinos has affected local economies. Casinos in certain areas are associated with higher property prices and lower wages, and other living costs rise at a faster rate than average salaries. Other studies have shown an increase in social disorganization and deprivation, while some have found an increase in social capital. However, both positive and negative effects of gambling are linked to increased social integration, improved sense of community, and reduced social isolation.

Pathological gambling

In the DSM-IV, pathological gambling is a category of disorder, but its symptoms do not necessarily meet the criteria of schizophrenia. Pathological gamblers also show symptoms of other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, affective disorder, and kleptomania. These disorders can be characterized by the inability to resist certain behaviors, such as gambling. Pathological gambling is a common form of impulse control disorder, so the following symptoms are likely to be present in a person with this condition.