Most studies of gambling have analyzed the economic benefits and costs and not its social impacts. However, social costs have been identified and defined by Walker and Barnett. According to these authors, social costs result from an action that harms another person while benefiting no one else. These costs are largely social and not personal. The following are examples of social costs associated with gambling. These examples may be useful for identifying problem gamblers. But, before evaluating these effects, it is important to understand the definition of social costs. Problem gamblers The adverse social spillover caused by problem gambling is a very real concern for society. Gamblers generate enormous social, family, and personal problems. However, most adult gamblers do so responsibly. The following are the symptoms of problem gambling. It is important to seek help as soon as you suspect that you may be a problem gambler. If you think you might be a problem gambler, talk to your doctor. Impacts of gambling on small businesses In a recent book, experts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign argued that the economic impact of gambling on small businesses is negative and that casinos will depress the overall economy. Several studies analyzed the economic impact of gambling on various aspects of small businesses, including employment, revenue, and business numbers. The results of these studies are summarized in Table 2. The text of this book has been updated from its original 1994 edition, and significant footnotes have been removed. Impacts of problem gambling on public services The economic cost of problem gambling is commonly discussed, but it is not always clear whether the social costs are equally important. While gambling is an activity that is popular among the population, it is not only a leisure activity, but it also takes time away from other activities and causes social damage. The consequences of problem gambling are severe, and they manifest themselves on a personal, interpersonal, community, and societal level. Problem gamblers who go bankrupt can cause damage to their family’s financial situation and create a significant amount of social care costs. Signs of a problem gambler The symptoms of a problem gambler can be difficult to recognize – many people struggle with the addiction, while others live with the effects of a problem gambler. Problem gambling is a hidden addiction, unlike drugs and alcohol. It is difficult to see the obvious symptoms of addiction because a problem gambler can’t show any of them. Listed below are some common symptoms of a problem gambler. If you recognize any of them, you can seek professional help for this condition. Resources for help If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to gambling, it can be helpful to talk to your primary care physician about it. While some people are resistant to talk about their habits, it is important to address the problem in order to regain control of one’s life and heal ties with others. Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on changing negative beliefs about gambling and helps individuals learn to cope with their urge to gamble. Other forms of treatment may be available, including family therapy.
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