Each problem gambler adversely affects the lives of at least seven to eight other people who are close to him or her. Parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, employers and fellow employees, and of course, children all must deal with the impact of problem gambling. There can be significant social impacts resulting from problem gambling which can generate “hard” economic costs for states, communities and individuals.
The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that gambling addiction carries an annual cost of $7B (billion, with a “b”) as a direct result of crime, bankruptcy and cross-addiction. According to the 2006 California Prevalence Survey, problem gamblers are 3 to 3.5 times as likely to be arrested or spend time in jail, and are 2 to 7 times more likely to smoke, binge drink, take illegal drugs.
Other impacts on the community include:
- Domestic violence, neglect of children and family and senior abuse
- Relationship break-ups / divorce.
- Job loss, unemployment
- Debt, bankruptcy
- Embezzlement, fraud, check forgery
- Eviction, forced home sales or foreclosure
- Crime, arrest, incarceration
- Poor physical and mental health