While gambling is practiced by millions of people across theworld, it is evident that it has its advantages and disadvantages.Gambling is a practice whereby people take financial or propertyrisks where they place bets in the hope of winning extra money. Forexample, people place money on bets where they hope to win huge sumsof money. There are people who engage in the practice for fun whileothers have made it their avenue for making money (Ustok and Hughes86). While different people engage in different gambling forms, onething is clear gambling has more negative effects than positiveones. Researchers have opined that the odds in gambling are alwaysagainst the gambler. Although some people are intrigued by the ideaof taking risks with their investments, they are never sure whethergambling is a worth investment for their money. This research papersseeks to highlight the numerous reasons why gambling is not a worthrisk. Negative effects of gambling that range from loss of money,suicide cases, addiction issues, and health problems are discussed.
Thesis: Gambling has numerous negative effects on peopleranging from financial problems, health problems and relationshipissues.
Whereas gambling is publicized as a way of making money, researchhas indicated that gamblers eventually lose money. A compilationof a two year data by The Wall Street Journal indicates that therewere only 11% of gamblers who ended up having extra money. Even atthis, the extra money was only up to $150. This shows that 89% ofthe gamblers lost money. This is an indication that there is noeasy way to make money through practices such as gambling. It isessential to note that gambling for two years is a huge task andtakes a lot of time and energy. It would be easier to work for a weekin a menial job and earn the $150 than wait for two years as agambler. Most of the gambling forms advertise the possibility ofwinning huge sums of money without mentioning that the number ofpeople who could possibly win such monies is extremely small(Perkinson 89). For instance, some gambling companies have limitson how many people who can win the huge amounts or they force thewinners to share the total amount. Recently, sports betting wherepeople predict the outcomes of games and win monies have introducedjackpots. These are bets that have the possibility of enabling theplayer to win as much as $1 million dollars in a single bet. However,when several people win the jackpot, the betting companies share theamount amongst the winners. This clearly indicates that the odds arealways against the gamblers. In other words, there is a hugepossibility is getting minimal profits even after winning since otherpeople might have won as well and the profit will be shared.Furthermore, it is important to note that the betting companies,casinos and other lottery firms are in business and their intentionis to make profits. Moreover, there are people who have opined thatthey have borrowed money to place bets and now they are in hugedebts. Therefore, it is clear that the financial impacts are not onlyrelated to losing money on wagers, but also falling into debts.
Whereas gambling is fun, it is important to note that within thefun resides the problem of addiction. Over 66% of collegestudents are addicted to gambling today in the United States.Notably, gambling does not require any skills to start. For example,predicting a horse race or a football game outcome is easy (Jabr 28).The possibility to win and the desire to get rich quickly are someof the factors leading to gambling addiction. They create thrillsthat are addictive to the players. When people lose on their wagers,they are likely to try and recover the money through placing otherbets. Moreover, extensive research has indicated that after winningonce, gamblers continue to bet with the hope of winning extra monies.Gambling addiction can lead to wastage of time, economic problems andaffect the social relations between the gambler, friends and family.In most American families, gambling addiction on children hasaffected their relationship with their parents. The more peoplebet the more money they invest and eventually lose. Therefore,addiction can lead to financial problems. The Center for Addictionand Mental Health states that “….the urge to gamble seems toogreat to resist. They feel they can’t give up on all the time,money and emotion they have put into gambling…..” (CAMH 20). Theybelieve that it is not worth to lose the money and emotional effortthat they have invested in gambling. The fact that gamblers win oncein a while keeps their hope real that one day they will win huge sumsof money.
Stress, anxiety and depression are mental health problems thatare related to gambling. Gamblers have reported having differentsleeping patterns, losing appetite for food and some activities theyhad interest in before, as well as being irritated. Excessiveanxiety that is associated with placing bets has tremendous effectson the mental well-being of the players. Furthermore, the stressthat emanates from losing money on gambling can be prolonged leadingto depression (Jabr 29). Students who are depressed fail in theirexaminations and in other daily activities. Losing money or propertyin gambling practices results in feelings of despair andhopelessness. Loss of weight and development of fatigue arefurther problems that result from depression. Notably, this isdepression that emanates from gambling stress. Psychologically,prolonged feelings of depression and guilt have a likelihood ofleading to suicide. The Center for Addiction and Mental Health states“…..people most likely to attempt suicide are those who also havemental health problems such as depression….” (CAMH 23). It isessential to mention that this is a form of depression that emanatesfrom the stress associated with gambling. Gambling is a practice thatdoes not only affect the economic and social status of a participant,but it also affects their health and can even lead to death.
There are various solutions to the problem of gambling.While gambling should not be stopped, there is need to have itregulated. There are misleading advertisements about gambling onvarious advertising platforms such as street boards, televisions andnewspapers where they promise players huge wins. Chicago Tribunestates that “….Allowing more casinos and other gamblingopportunities is not likely to produce the great economic benefitsoften promised……” ( Chapman 1) The government must provideregulations for the gambling companies to disclose all theinformation and risks associated with gambling. Potentialparticipants must be informed of the risks such as losing money,affecting their social life and addiction. Additionally, thegovernment has the responsibility of educating the public about thenegative effects of gambling (Grinols 32). Counseling is anothermajor step towards dealing with the effects of gambling. Counselorscan guide gamblers on the best ways of acquiring money other thangambling. Depressed or stressed gamblers can also receivecounseling services from counselors. Notably, counseling services insome areas such as Ontario are free and confidential. Gamblers caneasily open up to counselors about their problems with confidencesince they are assured of the confidentiality of their information.
Despite the above shortcomings, it is important to note thatthere are a few advantages of gambling. These advantages arehowever, extremely weak to outweigh the shortcomings. A fewindividuals have gained financial independence through gambling wherethey win huge amounts of money. This is mainly common with spotsbetting where a small amount of money is placed on a bet that offersthe participant the opportunity of winning millions of dollars(Grinols 41). In addition, gambling can be a fun activity.There are numerous people who visit casinos or place wagers on sportsonce in a while as a past-time activity. Moreover, gambling can bringpeople together as they debate on the possible results in a game andthe likelihood of winning. These few advantages have been used bygambling firms to attract participants who eventually realize thatthey are losing more than they are gaining. The hard economic timeshave pushed people to gambling as they try to acquire riches in theshortest and easiest ways possible. However, people should not beconfused by the few benefits to gambling. The bottom line is thatgambling has immense negative effects which cannot be outweighed bythe minor benefits.
While concluding, there is no doubt that the risks involved ingambling makes it a non-worthy investment. The possibility oflosing money and property, developing stress or depression or evensuicide are extremely high. Time and again, research has shown thateven though a few people win a lot of money in gambling, majority ofthe participants have been left in financial crisis or even in debts.Young people who are addicts of this practice have poor relationshipswith their friends and relatives. Most parents in the United Statesare against gambling and they quarrel severally with their childrenover the same. Considering the above discussed effects of gambling,it is evident that it is a practice that is not worth taking.
Gambling must be regulated by the government and gamblers especiallythe young people must be educated on the dangers and effects ofgambling. Gambling can be addictive and can sometimes lead tofinancial success. However, it has been found out that it oftenresults in huge financial losses in the long run.
CAMH. Problem gambling, the issues, the options. Institute ofOntario: A Pan American Health Organization / World HealthOrganization Collaborating Centre. Accessed from: https://www.problemgambling.ca/EN/Documents/2845-PG_IssuesOptions_Dec08.pdf
Chapman, Steve. The real effects of gambling. The Chicago Tribune.Accessed from: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-21/news/ct-oped-0721-chapman 20110721_1_problem-gambling-online-gambling-howard-shaffer
Grinols, Earl. The Hidden Social Costs of Gambling. Center forChristian Ethics at Baylor University, 2011. Print.
Jabr, Fray. Gambling on the Brain. Scientific American, 2013,309(5), 28-30. Print.
Perkinson, Rake. The Gambling Addiction Client Workbook, SagePublishing, 2013. Print.
Ustok, Luiz and Hughes, James. First Steps Out of ProblemGambling, Lion Hudson, 2011. Print
Akst, Daniel. The `How` of the Hot Hand .Wall Street Journal,Accessed from: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304518704579521872414396950. 2014, Internet source.