Social Costs

The literature shows that the most clear social impact of casino development is the increase in problem gambling that results. It is estimated that 1.2% of U.S. adults are pathological gamblers at some point in their lifetime and that another 1.5% are problem gamblers. The likelihood of being a pathological or problem gambler is double for a person living within 50 miles of a casino.[1]

In Connecticut, it is estimated that 180,000 (6%) of the population meet the criteria for problem or pathological gambling.[2]

The consideration for determining a cost estimate based on problem gambling would include but not be limited to: job loss, unemployment and welfare benefits, and gambling disorder treatments. Other considerations would be bankruptcies, divorces, arrests, imprisonment, and legal fees.

The percent of active gamblers who are considered problem or pathological gamblers varies by study. The range varies, but the authors of several studies estimate that problem gamblers account for 20 to 40 percent of total gambling expenditures.[3]

It is truly a contradiction in American society that we partake in two addictive past times – alcohol and gambling. While the bartender is considered responsible for over serving the inebriated alcoholic, the casino has never been held responsible for the broke gambler.


[1] Community Research Partners   The social impact of casinos: Literature review and cost estimates  1/21/2010

[3] Addiction to Design, Natasha Dow Schull, 2012 (p. 320)