The Impacts of Gambling

Gambling involves risking money or something of value, for example, a car or house, on an event that has an element of chance. It can include playing card games, fruit machines and video-draw poker machines; betting on football accumulators and horse races; and scratchcards.

People often gamble to socialise, have fun and pass the time. Some people also gamble for the thrill of winning. However, gambling is not without its risks and can have harmful effects if it is not managed properly. There are many different ways people gamble – it could be as simple as drinking free cocktails in a casino, or as complex as investing large amounts of money in online casinos or real life gambling venues.

It’s important to set money and time limits when gambling, and never chase your losses. This is called the “gambler’s fallacy” and leads to bigger losses, often because you believe that you are due a win and can get your money back if you gamble some more.

There are also other benefits of gambling, such as socialising, mental development and skill improvement. However, most of these benefits are only realised when gambling is done in moderation. When a person becomes addicted to gambling, it can have a negative impact on their family and other relationships. Problem gambling can lead to debt, bankruptcy and even homelessness if left uncontrolled. The impacts of gambling can be analysed at the personal, interpersonal and community/society level (see Fig 1 below). The focus of most studies is on monetary harms, whereas other less tangible impacts such as declining quality of life and loss of social capital have been overlooked.