Gambling has many external and internal impacts, and each has a range of causes and consequences. These impacts are generally manifested at different levels – individual, interpersonal, and societal. They can range from immediate, to long-term, and even cross generations. To better understand these impacts, research into gambling should consider several key methodological challenges. In addition to the financial impacts, gambling also has social and psychological implications. Some of these include the health and well-being of people involved in the gambling industry, as well as the impact on communities.
Although gambling harms are the focus of most gambling studies, a public health approach recognizes the positive effects of the activity. For instance, a study of gambling harms might include costs associated with gambling, and a social costing study would look at the costs of nongambling populations. The public health approach is more comprehensive and recognizes both the positive and negative effects of gambling. In addition, it recognizes that many harms can be attributed to nongambling individuals.
Despite the positive effects of gambling, the positive aspects of this activity have not been fully explored. For example, gambling harms can negatively affect significant others, such as a spouse, child, or other family member. In addition to causing significant harms to others, gambling also increases the risk of dating violence, a serious marital dispute, or even homicide. Furthermore, 38% of problem gamblers report experiencing physical or interpersonal IPV, including violence towards their partners.