Gambling involves risking something of value (usually money) on an event that has some element of randomness or chance, with the intention of winning something else of value. It can be done in a variety of ways, such as playing games such as cards, fruit machines, video-draw poker and slot machines, betting on horse or greyhound races, football accumulators and other sporting events and buying lottery tickets and instant scratchcards.
While gambling does have some benefits, it can also cause harm to the individual and their family and friends. Problem gambling can affect health and wellbeing, relationships with family and friends, performance at work or school and even lead to homelessness and bankruptcy. It can also have long-term impacts on children, who may grow up to be less able to control their finances and make sound decisions in adulthood.
Whether it’s a game of cards, a bet on the lottery or a quick spin of the pokies, most people gamble in some form at some point in their lives. For some, this can be a fun and harmless way to pass the time but for others it can damage their physical and mental health, ruin their relationships, cause debt problems and even result in suicide. It can be hard to know when gambling is causing you harm because it often masks itself with positive feelings, such as excitement, anticipation and enjoyment.
One of the main risks associated with gambling is that it can become an addiction. If you think you might be struggling with a gambling problem, please speak to one of our counsellors. They’re here to help and are free, confidential and available 24/7.
Another major risk is that gambling can be socially isolating. This is because it can be difficult to find other people who share your interest in gambling and it’s easy to fall into the habit of going out only to gamble. Luckily there are many other ways to meet new people, such as joining a book club, sports team, volunteering or getting involved in a community project.
While a number of studies have examined gambling’s economic impact, fewer have looked at the community/society level impacts, especially those that are not monetary. It is important to consider these impacts because they can have a negative impact on the wellbeing of gamblers and their significant others, as well as the wider community. One possible method for assessing these impacts is through the use of disability weights (DW) – an established measure that can be used to discover social costs associated with an activity. However, this is not without its challenges and needs further research. Nevertheless, the development of a common methodology is an important step in addressing this issue. Ultimately, the goal is to create a model that can be used to understand gambling’s impact on society, both in terms of economic benefits and social costs. This will ultimately help to identify opportunities for improved regulation of gambling.