The Effects of Gambling

Gambling involves risking money or something of value in the hope of winning. It can range from the purchase of lottery tickets and betting on games of chance by people with little money to the sophisticated casino gambling of wealthy individuals. Regardless of the amount staked, gambling affects those who engage in it in a variety of ways that can have positive or negative consequences. These impacts can be observed at three levels: personal, interpersonal and community/societal (Fig. 1). Personal impacts relate to the gamblers themselves and can be seen in terms of their health, well-being and relationships. Interpersonal impacts are observed between the gambler and those who interact with them, such as family members and work colleagues. At the societal level, impacts can be seen in terms of the economic impact of gambling revenues, tourism and changes to infrastructure costs and value.

Many studies on the effects of gambling have focused on economic factors, which are easy to measure and quantify. However, these studies often ignore social costs and benefits. By ignoring social costs, they miss a significant aspect of the problem that is a major contributor to its harm.

The social cost of gambling refers to the cost that is borne by society due to gamblers’ behaviors and decisions, which are in turn influenced by their environment and personal characteristics. In other words, a person’s environment and their personality can influence the extent to which they are affected by gambling and may also determine whether or not they have a problem with it.

For example, a person who is struggling with depression, financial problems or grief will be more likely to use gambling as an escape or way of dealing with these issues. They may be influenced by the media that portrays gambling as glamorous, exciting and fun or the feelings of relaxation and comfort that they get while gambling. They may also be influenced by the social interactions they have at gambling venues or the company of their friends.

If someone believes that they have a gambling problem, they can seek help or advice from organisations that offer support and assistance. This could be from a friend, colleague or professional counsellor. They can also try to reduce their risks by avoiding high-risk behaviours such as using credit cards, taking out loans or carrying large amounts of cash. They can also try to stop gambling by finding alternative recreational activities and hobbies. They should also avoid gambling as a way of escape from their problems and instead find other ways to deal with them. By talking about their gambling problems with someone they trust and who won’t judge them, they can strengthen their resolve to overcome the problem. They can also start to find a new purpose in life and set short-term and long-term goals for themselves. This may help them to take control of their gambling and prevent it from becoming a serious issue for them.