In addition to the psychological effects of gambling, the social, economic, and interpersonal costs of problem gambling are important to recognize. The personal and interpersonal costs of gambling can have devastating effects on the gambler’s relationships with family and friends, as well as on the community at large. Problem gambling can cause financial hardship and lead to homelessness. Further, gambling can lead to social and economic degradation, as well as ill health. Consequently, gambling should be limited and controlled to prevent its negative impact on society.
While gambling is often viewed as an occasional social activity, it can rapidly become a major part of a person’s life if they cannot control their urges. As gambling increases in importance without the gambler’s knowledge, it may begin to impact a person’s ability to function normally. While it may be difficult to change habits based on personal research, many organisations exist that provide counselling to those with gambling problems, as well as support to friends, family, and loved ones of problem gamblers.
While most youth do not gamble heavily, some do. The difference between commercial gambling and informal games is often the legal gambling age. Most jurisdictions require that individuals be at least 18 years of age to participate in gambling, but some will allow underage gamblers to purchase lottery products. While this is not always the case, gambling is often a way to celebrate achieving a milestone. It is also not uncommon for underage youth to obtain lottery products from legal gamblers.
While these positive effects of gambling have been documented in several studies, few have examined the long-term effects on employment. Interestingly, while a majority of people who engage in gambling are professional poker players, only a small percentage are employed in the industry, and the majority of new employees come from low-wage industries. Many gambling sectors in Macao report that they have a hard time recruiting staff and keeping them. However, many staff are eager to work in a casino and earn a higher salary.
Partnering with someone who has a gambling problem increases the risk of violence towards their significant other. This can lead to financial hardship for the partner, which may result in problems with utilities, payments, and the inability to pay for medication or treatment. Significant others are often forced to take out loans to support the gambling partner. The consequences for the children are also significant, as they experience the lack of basic household items. The child may experience psychological or physical abuse if he is left without their parents.
Problem gamblers are more likely than others to be smokers. In fact, problem gamblers have a higher body mass index than non-problem gamblers. They are also more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive television viewing, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Other studies have revealed that gambling is associated with other disorders, including substance use. It is estimated that twenty to sixty percent of problem gamblers are also smokers.