Gambling and Culture: Perspectives on Risk

Gambling and Culture: Perspectives on Risk

Gambling is an integral part of many cultures, yet most prevalence studies do not take cultural factors into account in their investigations.

One study discovered that Pacific people gamble to make up for financial contributions expected from distant family members; such losses can impede other community obligations such as providing care to children or elders.

Culture and Risk

Gambling and casinos have long been part of American culture. These institutions serve as an entertainment source, bringing billions annually in revenues while creating employment opportunities. But these activities come at the cost of serious social ramifications; contrary to what many might believe, gambling can have serious repercussions for both individuals and communities alike.

At present, there is little research addressing the role cultural variables play in initiating and maintaining gambling and problem gambling (PG). To address this gap, this paper investigates culture’s effects on attitudes and behaviors toward gambling.

Many people’s views of gambling depend on their cultural background. Some cultures view gambling as an acceptable social activity while others may hesitate to partake due to religious or other concerns. Furthermore, depictions of gambling in popular culture can either glamourize it or warn against its temptations.

Culture and Addiction

Gambling has become part of popular culture through movies, TV shows, and social media. Images depicting gambling can both normalize it as an enjoyable pastime and glorify it to increase its appeal; additionally they may desensitize people to the potential harms associated with gambling by overemphasizing positive outcomes.

Studies have demonstrated the influence of various cultural dimensions and positions on gambling behaviors (Neal, Delfabbro & O’Neil 2005; Poysti & Majamaki 2013). Furthermore, participants from our study in Tonga suggested that churches be held responsible for subtly encouraging gambling through policies and constitutions which reflect cultural norms and beliefs.

Literature, movies, and music can also play a vital role in shaping gambling perceptions by showing its psychological and emotional repercussions. Therefore, it is crucial that this message become embedded into popular culture to increase public awareness of the risks associated with gambling.

Culture and Mental Health

Literature on culture’s role in gambling and problem gambling (PG) has long been lacking, so this paper attempts to fill that void through a qualitative research study.

This study explores the relationship between cultural variables and gambling intentions and risk perception among Tongan males, specifically by distinguishing everyday from special convenience gambling spaces to allow a more comprehensive examination of harm potential by including cultural theory into analysis of convenience gambling spaces.

Participants reported gambling as a means of meeting sociocultural expectations and obligations, including earning money for status advancement and family rank enhancement. Furthermore, several participants noted that Tongan society enabled people to be successful gamblers due to teaching them how to share winnings equitably; however these beliefs can become corrupted by fatalism and hierarchism and lead them into gambling behaviors by altering people’s perception of risk and ability to control it.

Culture and Substance Abuse

As a social activity, gambling can vary across cultures. Cultural context can have a strong bearing on whether someone develops gambling issues. A study by Survey Sampling International using a proportional sample from four states’ Native American populations revealed that traditional culture and identity associated with Native Americans lead to lower gambling and problem gambling rates than for those not raised on reservations.

Although gambling may exist across cultures, its acceptance may differ considerably between cultures. This is particularly evident when considering problem gambling (PG). Individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities are at greater risk of problem gambling due to differing beliefs about luck and chance as well as factors related to migration.

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