Gambling is an activity where people risk money or goods or valuables on an event with an element of uncertainty, whether it be a roll of the dice, the spin of a roulette wheel or the outcome of a horse race. It is an exciting pastime that can bring enjoyment, but it can also cause problems with health and relationships. Problem gambling can harm a person’s mental and physical health, interfere with work or study, lead to debt and even homelessness. The consequences can be felt by a person’s family, friends and neighbours too.
People gamble for many reasons – to enjoy the thrill of winning, socialise or escape worries and stress. However, it is important to recognise if you have a problem. If you are unable to control your spending, have difficulty withdrawing from gambling or avoid socialising due to gambling, then you may be dealing with a gambling addiction.
Gambling has impacts at personal, interpersonal and community/society levels. It can have a positive impact on communities, as it brings people together and provides a fun way to raise funds for charitable causes. It can also help improve a person’s skills and knowledge, as they have to develop strategies in order to win. But these effects are largely unknown and there are methodological challenges associated with examining them. In addition, they can be masked by other factors. Personal and interpersonal impacts are particularly difficult to measure and have been underplayed in gambling studies.