Gambling involves three things; the stakes, prize and the result. The stakes include things of value which are placed by the parties involved. The prize is the valuable thing which the participants opt to win after betting and the result is the outcome of the event which determines who wins and who loses. In activity falling or involving the above three; the stakes, prize and the result, is gambling. The term gambling can be described as a situation where two or more parties risk money or things of value in games, contests or any other related event then wait for the outcome as either a loser or a winner. Some examples of gambling are; events betting e. g horse races or sporting events, playing of casino games for money, involving oneself in activities such as buying lottery tickets, prize draws participations and participating in news paper competitions. (Collins, 2003, p.15)
How gambling has evolved
This study has been designed to examine the premise that; gambling has one of the most negative powerful impacts on today’s society. It is a downward spiral, which harms our society both psychologically and financially. Over the past century and a half, gambling has evolved from being a furtive backstreet activity to a multimillion-pound gambling industry. Governments of many nations are using legalized gambling as a source of revenue and the citizens have accepted it as a source of entertainment.
Unlike in the olden days where gambling event was organized once in a while and people had to wait for next events, today, the activity is on for 24 hours with instant results and people don’t have to wait for too long. (Fabiansson, 2010, p.142)
The gambling industry has both negative and positive consequences. For instance, Casinos attract tourism and create new jobs; on the other hand, they allure crime and problem gamblers. Gambling is prominent in today’s society; it entertains but can also have disastrous effect on a person’s life at the same time. (Thompson, 2001, p.437).
The amount of betting has been increasing in nations since 1990s. In Britain, a research by the British Gambling Prevalence Survey was drawn in 2007 by experts at the National Centre for Social Research (NCSR). It was found that there was an increment in count for the number of people gambling in the UK. The number of people number of people betting for the last report increased from 63 % in 2006 to 73 % in 2007. In their comments to the survey authors, the majority claimed that they were gambling for fun and others said that they were doing it to try out their chances of winning big money. (Spapens, Littler & Fijnaut, 2008, p.37).
The analysts discovered that people in Great Britain were gambling in very many ways with a small number of them gaming online. The majority, almost 60 % of adults in the UK participated in the National lottery. On the contrast, the report found that the people betting by predicting scores and no scores in football dropped from 9 % in 1999 to 4 % in 2010.
The reasoning behind the researchers’ decision to focus on the social and financial factors of gambling in the UK is because of the significant increase in gambling-related problems in Britain. In order to know whether gamblers had a problem, the statisticians used two different and complex measures to measure them. They surveyed for quite a number of behaviors of gamblers wanting to recover their stakes back (chasing losses). In the process of the gamblers chasing their losses, the surveyors or rather the statisticians learnt that the gamblers could make more bets in trying to win their stakes back or even find themselves in robbery when they lacked the stakes to gamble. In many cases, the gamblers found themselves being exploited even more. (Berleur, 2010, p.19).
The gambling commission chairman, Brian Pomeroy announced that the British population had problems with gambling. When asked of the steps he took on realizing that there was gambling problem in individuals, the commissioner said that the commission was determined to take control of gambling in seeing that the risks of those individual were minimized and ensuring that the majority of people could then gamble without fear of their life safety. The Salvation Army was against this idea and it went ahead and lobbied a case against the gambling industry and called for the government action to intervene, so that the industry could be terminated or stopped from growing.
Gambling ranges from playing lotteries to betting on horses to casino betting of high stakes. The casinos fall into the leisure activities. Most casino venues are business centered. The venues provide restaurant services, great music and classy bars. On contrast to being an entertainment game for many people, gambling has negative impacts to people and their financial lives. Some individuals suffer from a gambling addiction which can ruin their financial and personal lives. (Wardle, 2007, p.17)
Negative impacts on today’s society (both psychological and financial)
The gambling which was legal in specific jurisdictions long time ago is now everywhere; from the convenience corner stores where lottery tickets are bought to, the rasinos where horse tracks are combined with electronic machines of gambling, to electronic gambling machine parlours, casinos and currently the internet and mobile wagering which involves the use of smart phones. Since the time of its innovation, gambling has never had chances of being easily accessed and ever available. (Rule & Sibanyoni, 2000, p.21).
As I said earlier, gambling if not well handled can be a serious addiction. It can heavily damage an individual’s stability of finance. Once the problem gambling strikes in to a person’s life, it takes control over their lives. It affects their home life, their work environment, their performance in production and to make it worse, their parenthood (in this case, being good parents). People affected with problem gambling find themselves in pressures which may force them into sourcing money through illegal means.. (Volberg, 2001, p.121).
Gambling has one of most negative impact on today’s youth society.
The literature review
Many people view gambling as a way of risking money in order to make money. The big question is, if that was the case, why then can’t people who have won the valuable stakes stop playing and quit and those who have lost to stop continuing to gamble because of the big losses they incur. The youth society is also a victim to this activity of gambling. According to the research done by Derevensky in 2012, the research investigations showed that the main reasons why the adolescents or rather the youths engaged themselves in gambling were; the majority of them did it for enjoyment 80 %, followed by the allure to make money 62 %, then foe excitement 59 %, to involve ion social activities 12 %, relations 8 %, to escape or skive daily problems 4 %, then to feel mature enough or older 3 %, for depression alleviation and to avoid being on the lone 1 %. Every one had his or her motive for gambling. (Derevensky, 2012, p.76)
Even if it is known that many people don’t want to be associated with gambling, there circumstances that make them to find themselves being victims of gambling. For example, Gambling can occur on a continuum with many individuals not engaging in the act at all, individuals gambling once in a while, or those engaging in the activity many times and experiencing minimum negative financial or social consequences. Those other gamblers who gamble frequently with more valuable stakes and cant even stick to their pre-set limits of time and stakes may find themselves in severe problems which are as a result of gambling. The gambling related problems will impact individual differently. Some of them may lose control once, and there lies their fate because of their episodic and short lived control loss. To others, losing control may be a progressive disorder. The gambling disorder has been given many names for example, it is also called; pathological gambling, problem gambling, compulsive gambling, disordered gambling and many others. When individuals get addicted to gambling, they cause many problems to themselves which are; emotional, familial, psychological, interpersonal, financial and legal problems. (Grant &Potenza, 2004, p.4).
Now that many people are so much exposed to gambling, knowing that it is about taking risks and controls, they get attracted into trying their luck. The losers tend to keep on trying keeping in mind that the activity is a game. In the process, both the winners and losers blindly find themselves so much into the game that they can’t or it gets harder for them to quit from gambling. They become addicts of gambling in a way that, trying to get them to keep of the activity is like trying to create fights with them. (Bledsoe, 2004, p.86).
In most cases, the youths are the most affected by the gambling activity. According to the research by Derevensky in 2012, it is evident that the adolescents or rather the youths get exposure to gambling early before they start experimenting with cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, drugs use and engaging in sexual activities. A research by Griffiths and Sutherland in 1998 discovered that higher proportions of young youths between the age of 11 years and 16 years, engaged themselves in gambling once a week or more, often smoked cigarettes, got drunk with alcohol regularly and took drugs which were illegal. From this research, we can get clear evidence that the youths are in high risks of being affected by problem gambling and that gambling is of no difference to drugs. In this scenario, it is advisable to approach the issue from perspective of psychology and not from financial perspective. Through the psychological perspective, one is able to handle matters that are related with emotions, for example in that situation emotional control could be of more importance than financial gains for understanding gamblers. (Beilstein, 1979, p.305)
According to the research by Poland and Graham in 2011, eudaimonia is chased by addicts for some reasons which include; to be alive, to find definition and accomplish in order to feel good. All these meant that there are situations that people can find themselves soo much in need of something that without it, they can never take other remedies. In our case here, gambling being an addictive activity can make one to favor it more than his or her health, money, friends and even love. Gambling can be correlated with other addictive activities like; use of tobacco, consuming drugs and taking alcohol. (Sirgy, 2012, p.38)
Understanding ones self control and how the processes that constitutes self directed or self governed behavior has been an ageless problem in the theory of human action and agency. According to the theorists, we can best understand self control by recognizing its failure or absence and then analyze and compare its presence with its absence. Many are the times people assume the addictive behaviors and take them as prototypical moments of behaviors that are not truly self controlled and that lack self governance. (Wengler, 2006, p.127).
Pathological gamblers are so much into the gambling activity that they put their all; the personal relationships, occupational status and financial stability at risk. These types of people are so hard to handle. Regardless of the increase of family and financial distress, they continue to gamble. It is like the gambling controls them since it is difficult for them to control their urge to gamble. The pathological gamblers in most cases tend to gamble with valuable steaks or high amounts of money in order to satisfy their urges for entertainment and pleasure. Their tendency or behavior of putting gambling in the fore front other than thinking of their personal, occupational and financial wellbeing is what makes them to be identified as great risk takers or sensational seekers. (Galski, 1987, p.39)
Problem gambling make people suffer because of the need to gamble and the obsessive behavior. Firstly, maintaining their personal health becomes a problem. Some of the experienced symptoms by the pathological gamblers include; depressive moods, insomnia, anxiety, headache and stomach problems. Another problem is their responsibilities in their careers. According to the research studies, many people have lost their jobs and those who are fortunate to remain in the work place perform poorly in production due to reporting to the work place late than required, failing to attend to jobs (absenteeism) and getting preoccupied with gambling. (Dickerson, 1984, p.38)
In gambling literature, the terms; problem gamblers, pathological or compulsive gamblers are used interchangeably. They are used to used to define a disorder which is characterized by a loss of control over gambling, serious disruptions of families and jobs, theft cases and losses or attempts to win back stakes (money) that has been lost while in the gamble.
Secondary researches are used to provide a context of framework for analysis and interpretation of findings. In this context, we will use some articles and journals which are related to behaviors and characteristics of gamblers as well as the facts and figures on how the gambling behavior have been evolving from past years to the present time.
As we have seen earlier, problem gambling impacts individuals, especially those who are addicted to it, negatively. It damages their physical and mental health, their employment, finances and personal relationships. It is correlated with depression, alcoholism and other addictive activities linked with obsessive and compulsive behaviors. A good example is a story of Eugene Farrar, a gambling addict who lost over a £100,000 in gambling. (Saroyan, 1975, p.465).
The number of people engaging themselves in the gambling activity is increasing year after year. According to the most recent British Gambling Prevalence Survey that we discussed earlier, there are an estimated 450,000 problem gamblers in the UK. The number of the problem gamblers is on the rise. For instance, they measured and confirmed that in the year 2007, 0.6 % of the population was for the problem gamblers. The number increased to 0.9 % in 2010. A further 3.5 million people were grouped as gamblers at risk. The BBC reported that an approximate of 73 % adult had gambled in the previous year. This was an increase from 63 % that was reported in 2007. (Great Britain, 2012, p.10).
The Recent statistics about young people (students) in Britain
Today in Britain, young people in societies grow up knowing that gambling is accepted for entertainment and leisure activity. They participate frequently in gambling activities more than in other addictive activities e. g smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. A research in Canada concluded that young people are more likely to engage in gambling at much earlier age than they may engage in drugs or alcohol. Unlike other nations of the world, young people in the UK are allowed to gamble legally on various categories of fruit and slot. Children aged16 years can also play lottery. In the UK, Students are risk in the activity to get money for paying college debts. (Andrews & Haythornthwaite, 2007, p.105).
In an article, GamShare issue 2, spring 2010, research on young people and problem gambling, it reported that the quite a good number of youths in UK had problem gambling. The research read that 2 % of children aged between 12 and 15 years and 0.9 % aged between 16 and 24 years had problem gambling. The above figures indicate that around 127,500 youths had problem gambling in the UK. (Reilly & Schweihs, 1999, p.265)
The statistics show that there are several gambling mediums which have emerged. The availability of gambling has been on the increase. Previously, one had to go and seek for the activity but currently the activity (gambling) is available almost everywhere.
The statistics of UK alone in 2000 show that approximately 70 % of the population gambles every year. An overall expenditure of £7.3 billion is spent annually leading to an annual expenditure of around £155. The industry of gambling alone takes a turn over of 42 billion and contributes a sum of £1530 million roughly in gambling duties and taxation on the government. From these statistics, the increasing interest in gambling is evident, as the statistics continue to rise. The question why many people turn to gambling arises as a result of this.
A research by Credit Action shows that that nearly one in 10 adults in the UK has used gambling in an attempt to manage their finances and make extra money. Recession is very instrumental to the adult’s idea which makes them to develop a sense of urgency in trying to make extra money due to the country’s economy. A good example is the case of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG). It reported a record dividend from its casinos and lotteries of more than $6billion for the 2010-11 fiscal years. Much of this money though came out of the pockets of Ontario’s estimated 300,000 problem gamblers. In Leeds, one of the Britain’s poorest streets, statistics show that 5 billion was gambled.
A report, Gambling addiction and its treatment within the National Health Service, by British Medical Association was published in 2007. It outlined that there were many types of treatment interventions for problem gambling including counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive- behavioral therapy, advisory services, residential care, pharmacotherapy, and multimodal treatment. However, the report noted that there were almost no treatment services available for problem gamblers within the NHS. The BMA recommended that more funding be provided by the gambling industry to fund research, prevention, intervention and treatment programs.
Other than being an activity that is a source of revenue for the government, creating jobs, improving people’s way of living, raising economies of nations and many more, gambling has so many negative impacts to societies all over the world. Once the problem gambling strikes in to a person’s life, it takes control over their lives. It affects their home life, their work environment, their performance in production and to make it worse, their parenthood (in this case, being good parents). People affected with problem gambling find themselves in pressures which may force them into sourcing money through illegal means.
People can best understand their self control by recognizing its failure or absence and then analyze and compare its presence with its absence. Many are the times people assume the addictive behaviors and take them as prototypical moments of behaviors that are not truly self controlled and that lack self governance.