Economic and Psychosocial Impact of Problem Gambling in South Korea

Abstract

The study examined the harmful effects of casino gambling in Korean society from economic and psychosocial perspectives. Interviews with gambling addicts were conducted in order to gain insight into the impacts of pathological gambling. Using snowball sampling, 12 gambling addicts were recruited in Kohan, South Korea. Findings of the study suggest that gambling addicts suffer various harmful effects, including an increased susceptibility to financial and employment problems, such as debt and accumulated interest, bankruptcy, job loss, and decreased productivity. Participants in the study complained of physiological problems, including headaches, high blood pressure, arthritis, indigestion, a stomach disorder, and rapid weight loss. Common psychological problems reported included symptoms of high-level stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and suicidal ideation. For some interviewees who smoked and drank alcohol, consumption of these substances increased in response to their gambling. All participants reported disrupted relationships with their immediate family, relatives and friends. Moreover, they experienced stigma, discrimination, and feelings of alienation. With regard to criminal and legal problems, they were exposed to increased risk of litigation and violence. Clinical and political attention should be paid to the issue of gambling addiction in Korea, with a view to the prevention and treatment of gambling disorders. Management of gambling problems needs to consider economic and financial wellbeing, employment, physical and psychological health, interpersonal relationships, and the risk of criminal involvement and other legal issues.

References

  1. Abbott, M. W., & McKenna, B. G. (2005). Gambling and problem gambling among recently sentenced women in New Zealand prisons. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21, 559–581.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed, text revised). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ely, M., Anzul, M., Friedman, T., Garner, D., & Steinmetz, A. C. (1991). Doing qualitative research: circles within circles. New York: Falmer.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Ferris, J., & Wynne, H. (2001). The Canadian Problem Gambling Index: final report. Toronto, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Han, S. Y., Lee, H. P., Hur, T. K., & Jang, H. (2009). The actual condition, participation rate of gambling and prevalence of pathological gambling in South-Korea — Based on gambling type. Korean Psychological Association: Health, 14, 255–276.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Hong, J. K. (2009). Psychoanalytic approach to the addition of gambling. Journal of Lacan & Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 11, 137–153.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Jung, S. Y., Son, D. S., Choi, Y. S., Shin, H. H., Kim, S. H., & Choi, Y. S. (2009). A study on the development and effectiveness of social-psychological rehabilitation program for gamblers. Mental Health & Social Work, 32, 285–320.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Ko, E. A., Ku, T. K., Kim, J. H., & Chae, H. J. (2006). Study on economic approach and solution to gambling industry. Korean Journal of Alumni in Management, 37, 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Korea Racing Authority. (2009). Investigation of usage condition of gambling in South Korea. Seoul: Korea University.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Korean National Gaming Control Commission. (2009). A white paper on gambling industry. Seoul: Korean National Gaming Control Commission.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Korean National Gaming Control Commission. (2010). Investigation of usage condition of gambling industry in South Korea. Seoul: Korean National Gaming Control Commission.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Korean Problem Gambling Counseling Center. (2010). Prevalence of gambling addiction among OECD countries. Retrieved from http://www.blog.naver.com/goodcare8275/100115833234

    Google Scholar 

  13. Lee, H. P. (2002). Psychology of gambling. Seoul: Hakjisa Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Lee, J. H. (2003). Validity analysis of Korean gambling industry (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Lee T. W. (2009). A study of the negative impacts of excessive gambling on casino patrons. Korean Criminological Review, 77, 1251–1284.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Lesieur, H. R., & Rosenthal, R. J. (1991). Pathological gambling: A review of the literature (prepared for the American Psychiatric Association task force on DSM-IV committee on disorders of impulse control not elsewhere classified). Journal of Gambling Studies, 7, 5–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Leung, K. C., Wong, I. L. K., Lau, K. M., & Yeung, S. C. (2010). Stress, health, and coping resources of Chinese pathological gamblers’ spouses. Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health, 1, 61–74.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Park, C. H. (2008). A study on the soundness of gamble industry. Travel & Touring Study, 29, 21–48.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Park, J. H., Woo, J. M., Lee, S., & Chung, I. J. (2007). Expansion plan of social services to support psychological and emotional health. Seoul: People’s Institute of Economic & Social Studies.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Pietrzak, R. H., & Petry, N. M. (2006). Severity of gambling problems and psychosocial functioning in older adults. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Neurology, 19, 106–113.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the field: on writing ethnography. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to JongSerl Chun.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under an open access license. Please check the 'Copyright Information' section for details of this license and what re-use is permitted. If your intended use exceeds what is permitted by the license or if you are unable to locate the licence and re-use information, please contact the Rights and Permissions team.

About this article

Cite this article

Chun, J., Cho, S., Chung, I. et al. Economic and Psychosocial Impact of Problem Gambling in South Korea. Asian J of Gambling Issues and Public Health 2, 29–38 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03342123

Download citation

Key words

  • Economic and Psychosocial Impact
  • Problem Gambling