Research on gambling shows that there are many positive and negative social consequences. It has increased the demand for social services and has increased problem gambling rates. Recent research has linked the presence of casino gambling opportunities with an increase in social inequality. Consequently, households with higher incomes spend more on gambling and poorer households lose more income. However, the negative social consequences of gambling are less well understood. In fact, 12.6% of the world’s gamblers are poor.
Many studies show that gambling revenue has positive effects on public services, although very few have looked at the benefits of gambling for gamblers themselves. However, the negative effects of gambling can be measured using health-related quality of life weights (also known as disability weights), which measure the burden of an individual’s health state on their quality of life. These disability weights are also useful for assessing the social costs of gambling, as they can help identify how social networks affect the gambler’s life.
While the negative impacts of gambling are well-known, a public health approach takes a broader view of gambling’s effects on society. It focuses on the negative impacts of problem gambling, but also considers the positive benefits of gambling. Besides, research findings on gambling’s social consequences help policymakers make informed decisions about whether the activity is beneficial for society or not. But the costs associated with gambling are not always easy to measure, and a public health-oriented approach recognizes that the positive effects of gambling are worth examining.