Effects of gambling addiction

What are the social and economic effects of gambling addiction?

In 1998 the National Gambling Impact Study Commission funded a study to determine the overall cost to society posed by problem and pathological gamblers in the United States.

The results showed that approximately $5 billion was lost annually, with an additional $40 billion in lifetime costs for productivity reductions, social services and creditor losses. Studies have concluded that two out of three pathological gamblers commit illegal acts in order to pay gambling-related debts. This places a hardship on our legal systems, prison systems and public assistance programs.


The following consequences of problem gambling all result in economic costs for states, communities and individuals:

  • Job loss, unemployment
  • Debt, bankruptcy
  • Embezzlement, fraud, check forgery
  • Eviction, forced home sales
  • Crime, arrest, incarceration
  • Poor physical and mental health, suicide
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

The families of problem gamblers also suffer greatly from physical and psychological abuse; harassment and threats from bill collectors and creditors; increased stress stemming from neglect and divorce; and the extra financial burden placed on them to repay debts.

Sadly, children are negatively affected by gambling addiction in several ways.

  • Physical and emotional abandonment is a very real phenomenon.
  • “Casino kids” are left in cars or on the periphery of the gambling action while their parents gamble, or may spend hours with babysitters, thus missing the nurturing they need.
  • Children of pathological gamblers are typically abused verbally, mentally and physically by the gambler, and often even more so by the co-dependent spouse.
  • Finally, these children are much more likely to develop gambling addiction than their peers.

Excerpted from research: Effects of Problem Gambling. California Council on Problem Gambling (Anaheim, CA); 2006.

The Problem, the Pain and the Path to Recovery


8 thoughts on “Effects of gambling addiction

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  8. Your excellent list of the consequences of problem gambling and the ways in which children are negatively affected by the gambling addiction of their parents points to a number of issues that I have never read about in the gambling literature. This information needs to be spread far and wide in our society to help gamblers and potential gamblers become more aware of the consequences of their behavior and how their actions and lifestyle affect their children. Great info!


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