Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event or game whose outcome is determined by chance and where instances of strategy are discounted. It is a worldwide phenomenon and can take many forms, including online gambling, sports betting, and lottery games. While some people gamble recreationally, for others it can become a serious addiction resulting in financial and personal problems.
Besides causing harm to individuals, gambling can also have negative effects on the community and society. These impacts can be categorized into three classes: financial, labor, and health and well-being. They can manifest at the individual, interpersonal, and community/society levels (Fig. 1). Financial impacts include changes in income and expenditures. Labour impacts can include work-related costs, changes in productivity, absenteeism, and job loss. And health and well-being impacts include both monetary and non-monetary costs, such as an increase in risky behaviours, and quality of life indices, such as disability weights.
While some individuals gamble to win money, others do so for socialization and entertainment reasons. They may enjoy thinking about what they would do if they won the lottery, for example, or bet with friends because it makes their social gatherings more fun and interesting.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, there are steps you can take to help break the cycle. The first step is to recognize that there is a problem, which can be difficult, especially if you’ve lost significant amounts of money or experienced strained or broken relationships as a result of your gambling habits. It’s important to seek out a supportive network of family and friends, or join a support group like Gamblers Anonymous.