Many people think of gambling as a harmful activity that causes problems for gamblers, their significant others and society in general. However, gambling can also provide a number of benefits. This article looks at some of the health, economic and social benefits that gambling can have for people.
Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is purely chance – like the lottery, or a scratchcard. You then hope to win a prize. There are two main types of gambling: chance-based and skill-based. Skill-based gambling allows you to use techniques to sway the odds in your favour – for example sports betting and blackjack. But even with these skills, gambling is never a sure bet.
In some cases, gambling can lead to financial harm. For example, some people may spend more than they can afford to lose. If you’re worried that your gambling is causing you harm, it’s important to seek help and stop it. It’s a good idea to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and only if it fits into your entertainment budget.
Some studies have examined the relationship between gambling and bankruptcy. But these studies tend to be region-specific, anecdotal and poorly documented. Furthermore, they don’t account for expenditure substitution effects and are typically biased towards finding positive effects (e.g., ignoring the costs of insolvency or the debt-repayment costs associated with bankruptcy). They also often overlook the fact that some gambling expenses are paid to suppliers outside the gambling community, allowing the benefits to ‘leak’ into other communities.