Gambling involves risking money or something of value on an event that is influenced by chance, such as a lottery draw or a casino game. The outcome can either be a loss or a win. A common form of gambling is betting with other people, such as in games of marbles or collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering. While gambling can have positive impacts, such as providing a source of income for individuals, it also has many negative effects. These can affect gamblers, their families and the broader community/society.
Gamblers’ motivations for gambling may vary depending on the situation and environment in which they are exposed to it. For example, some people gamble for fun or to socialize with friends, while others may do it as a way to relieve boredom or stress. It is important to understand the different motivations for gambling, as it can help to develop interventions that target those at highest risk for problem gambling.
The impacts of gambling can be observed on the personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels (Fig. 1). Personal and interpersonal level impacts are mostly non-monetary and include invisible individual costs that are usually hidden and often remain unrecognized. These include the negative impacts on the quality of life and well-being of family members and friends, as well as the financial impacts from escalating debts and other consequences of problem gambling.
In addition, there are ways to reduce the risks of gambling, such as setting time limits for gambling and avoiding it while you’re feeling down or depressed. Find healthier ways to manage unpleasant emotions, unwind or socialize, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble or taking up new hobbies.