Social Costs of Gambling Harm in Italy




gambling, gambling harm, high risk gamblers, social costs, public finances, addiction


The aim of this study is to provide an estimate of the social costs of gambling in Italy. In line with other research on social costs, the present study estimates the consequences of gambling harm on public finances, focusing on the estimated costs to treat high-risk gamblers, costs associated with productivity losses, costs of unemployment, personal and family costs, crime and legal costs. We used two different approaches to calculate these costs. The first approach, used for health care costs, consists of using the lump sum spent to prevent the harm caused to high-risk gamblers. The second approach involves estimating the number of high-risk gamblers causing the cost, which is then multiplied with the average unit cost per person.  Our estimates of the annual social costs of gambling in Italy – more than EUR 2.3 billion – demonstrate a substantial economic burden to society. However, the costs are a substantial underestimate, as they are limited to those of a public nature and do not take into consideration those costs borne by moderate and low-risk gamblers, as well as affected others.

Author Biographies

Fabio Lucchini, Faculty of Law, eCampus University, Novedrate, Como, Italy

Fabio Lucchini is an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the Faculties of Law and Psychology of eCampus University. He holds a Ph.D in Applied Sociology and Social Research Methodology from University of Milano-Bicocca, his research interests lie primarily in the fields of sociology of health and behavioral addictions, with a specific focus on socio-economic inequalities and their relationship with individual and collective well-being and lifestyles.

Simona Lorena Comi , PhD, Associate Professor in Economics, Department of Business and Law, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

Simona Comi is Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Business and Law at the University of Milano Bicocca. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Milano. She has 20 years of experience of empirical research in several national and international studies on educational and labour markets related policies, including youth labour markets, college choice, school-to-work transitions, vocational education and apprenticeship, education and training systems, ICT and teacher quality.




How to Cite

Lucchini, F., & Comi , S. L. (2022). Social Costs of Gambling Harm in Italy. Critical Gambling Studies, 3(1), 71–82.



Original Research Articles