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The social cost of gambling: A systematic review of impacts and a targeted review of costing studies

Background: Gambling related harm is well established and documented. However, there is far less information regarding the appropriate way to conceptualise and quantify the costs of gambling in economic terms. This prompted a review of (a) the current state of knowledge regarding what aspects should feature in any accounting of gambling-related impact; and (b) specific projects that have attempted to implement such a costing. Methods: A systematic review of the literature included a search of 11 electronic databases for publications on gambling-related harm and quantification of gambling costs published between 2010 and February 2016 (inclusive) written in English. A targeted review of the grey literature used websites and an unlimited time frame to identify attempts to quantify gambling costs. Both the systematic and targeted reviews involved a narrative synthesis of the publications. Results: Twenty-five of the 173 peer-reviewed publications found in the systematic literature search met the inclusion criteria for measuring the impact of gambling related harms and were reviewed by impact level: individual, affected others, and community. Three Australian and 1 Canadian report found in the targeted literature review quantified the costs of gambling. Conclusions: This study revealed there is a need for a standardised comprehensive methodology for identifying and measuring the costs of gambling. In particular, attention should be focused on how best to quantify and measure the extent and experience of gambling related harm in order to provide an accurate economic estimate. This will allow for comparisons between populations and inform policy on minimising gambling related-harm.


Category 3 - Industry and Other Research Income


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Central Queensland University

Place of Publication

Brisbane, Qld

Open Access


Cultural Warning

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologize for any distress that may occur.

Era Eligible


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