Gambling is the act of risking something of value on a random event with the hope of gaining more than what one risked. It is similar to insurance, in which people pay a premium in order to protect against the occurrence of an unexpected event.
When most people think of gambling, they are likely to think of casinos and racetracks. However, there are many other places where people gamble. Some of these include gas stations, church halls and on the internet.
Whether you’re a casual or professional gambler, you have to be careful about how much money you spend on gambling. It can be expensive and can cause serious financial problems, if not properly controlled.
If you find yourself getting into financial trouble because of your gambling, talk to StepChange for free debt advice. Our debt coaches can help you find ways to make a fresh start and keep your money in your wallet.
While gambling can be fun, it’s important to know how it works and how to control your behaviour. It’s also a good idea to seek support from a gambling specialist if you feel like you have a problem.
The benefits of gambling are well-known, but the harms are not always understood. A wide range of impacts have been reported on both personal and social levels, and the consequences vary with severity.
Impacts at the personal level are related to the gambling behavior of the individual and his/her relationships with others. For example, a family member may lose their job as a result of the gambling habit of a loved one, or a friend or co-worker might get into trouble at work due to his/her gambling habits.
Similarly, the gambling behavior of a person might lead to the bankruptcy of his/her home or a business. It can affect the family’s social life and even their relationship with other members of the community, and can lead to a decline in quality of life for all involved.
These impacts are typically not assessed in the economic costing literature. This is because they are not easily quantifiable and can be regarded as nonmonetary, e.g., the pain and suffering of a problem gambler, the stress that he/she experiences or the emotional distress caused by his/her gambling.
Some studies have used disability weights to measure the intangible social costs of gambling; these are usually based on the effects that a gambler’s gambling has on his/her health-related quality of life. They are a useful way to estimate the impact of problem gambling on the community and to discover other gambling harms that are not measurable with economic costing.
When looking at the long-term effects of gambling, the most common impact is on the individual gambler’s mental health and wellbeing. For example, people who are gambling too much might develop problems with their eating and sleeping patterns or experience a lack of interest in other aspects of their lives. They might be depressed or anxious, which can trigger their gambling behaviors and increase the chances of them losing money.