Support Your Recovery From a Gambling Addiction


What are the economic costs of gambling? What about the social costs? How about legalization? These are the main questions to answer before legalizing gambling. Let us look at the issues and how we can help. In the meantime, there are many ways to support your recovery from a gambling addiction. Here are some suggestions for how to do this:

Economic costs

While the economic costs of gambling are difficult to quantify, they do exist. This is partly due to the lack of causal relationships among the costs and the benefits that are derived. The problem of gambling, for instance, may arise because of some other life circumstances or disorders, and as such the economic value of time lost is not known. To compensate for this uncertainty, most studies discount the cost of gambling using a causality adjustment factor. A recent report by the Australian Productivity Commission employed this approach, assuming that 80% of problem gamblers would still face these consequences without gambling.

Social costs

In Italy, the annual social costs of gambling are in excess of EUR 2.3 billion, representing a considerable economic burden. These costs include treatment of high-risk gamblers, costs associated with productivity losses, and costs related to unemployment and relationship breakdowns. While these costs can be measured directly, they are more difficult to quantify when considering intangible costs, such as co-morbidity and the emotional impact of gambling. The most valuable informants of these costs are people in counseling.

Economic benefits

Although many critics call gambling a tax on the poor, it is a popular form of entertainment for lower-income Americans. More state governments are now turning to gambling as an economic development tool. Casinos create new jobs for struggling cities and can sustain them for years. Economic benefits of gambling in the area should not be taken at face value. They depend on location and industry conditions. There are also methodological issues. Nevertheless, the economic benefits of gambling are still significant.


According to a 2006 survey by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, 80% of Americans approve of gambling and more than six in ten people have gambled at least once. However, while it is illegal to gamble on professional sports, one in five fans have placed a bet on their favorite team or athlete in the last five years. Moreover, 73 percent of pro sports fans said that they like watching sports with bets. The poll also showed that more than half of Americans (55 percent) support the legalization of gambling in professional sports. This trend is particularly strong among those between the ages of 18 and 29.


The key to recovery from gambling addiction is finding an alternative behavior. Gamblers often find solace and a feeling of well-being in gambling. However, gambling can lead to other problems, including depression. Treatment for gambling addiction must address both concerns. While compulsion to gamble may fade over time, depression can reappear later on. If both issues are not addressed simultaneously, gambling addiction may recur. A treatment plan should address both concerns, relapse prevention should be addressed, and coping skills should be developed.