An analysis of 10,000 adult gamblers in Great Britain suggests that around 0.7 percent of adults, about 330,000 people, are now classified as problem gamblers and have low levels of wellbeing, reports The Guardian newspaper.
The data was presented at last week’s Royal Economic Society’s annual conference.
“This loss in wellbeing is only partly the large financial losses that spending disproportionately on such products implies,” said Ian Walker, professor of economics at Lancaster University, who led the research. “One can feel bad about losing money accidentally, but one can feel a lot worse from having wasted money deliberately – money that could have been spent on having fun, on the kids, or on the essentials of life.”
Previous research into gambling has tended to focus on the impact it has on other people. “But no one has bothered to ask this question about the costs that the problem gamblers themselves suffer – until now,” Walker said. “If we could eliminate problem gambling, happiness would rise. Yet spending on dealing with problem gambling is a tiny fraction of spending that deals with alcohol issues.”