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The impact of gambling is measured on various levels – individual, interpersonal, and societal. The economic cost of gambling is well-known, as is the economic benefit, but what are the social impacts? Williams et al. and Walker and Barnett describe social costs as those that negatively affect someone else or benefit no one. These costs are often invisible, but they can have profound consequences, and need to be considered. Here are the major effects of gambling on society.

Problem gambling rates vary between countries and can range from one to four percent of the adult population. Pathological gambling can affect as many as 0.8% of the population, which means that many more people are affected by gambling than are reported. In fact, it is estimated that more than one in every 100 people are affected by gambling. Some of the most significant harms associated with gambling have been linked to social interaction and social settings. Moreover, gambling is often a source of escape, especially for problem gamblers.

Impact studies on gambling are vital for understanding the social and economic consequences of the activity. Gambling can have both positive and negative impacts, depending on the environment, the types of games played, the duration of gambling, revenues, and the effectiveness of gambling policies. Despite the widespread negative effects of gambling, there are many benefits of gambling as well. In fact, there are more than 200 types of gambling, and many of them are very beneficial to society. If people gamble more than is necessary, they risk being homeless and experiencing other detrimental effects.