Gambling is a game of chance or skill in which players risk money for the opportunity to win a prize. It can be played in many places, including casinos, gas stations, church halls and on the Internet.
Gamblers may be motivated by a desire to improve their financial position or to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as boredom, anxiety and stress. But gambling can be harmful if it becomes compulsive or is mixed with alcohol or other drugs.
Benefits and costs of gambling
The benefits of gambling include positive effects on people’s mental health, relationships, economic well-being and work performance. But the costs of gambling can be serious, especially for problem gamblers.
Social costs of gambling
Pathological and problem gamblers negatively affect families, friends, workplaces, communities and health care systems. Family members of problem gamblers may suffer emotional pain, while employees who are affected by pathological gambling face loss of productivity.
Economic development and the gaming industry
There are several perspectives on the relationship between gambling and economic development. Some argue that gambling is a social problem and a societal menace, while others believe that it is a viable tool for growth, a growing source of governmental revenue and an aid to deprived groups.
In practice, there is no single answer to this fundamental question, as it depends on the nature and scope of each form of gambling. In addition, determining the benefit-cost of expanding gambling is difficult because it involves intangible social costs that are hard to measure.