Gambling and Its Consequences


Gambling involves risking something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. It encompasses activities such as playing lottery games, scratch-off cards, fruit machines, poker, blackjack and sports betting. It also includes skill-based gambling games, where knowledge and strategies can improve the odds of winning.

Gambling is a common activity in most societies and can have positive and negative consequences for gamblers and their significant others. The positive effects can include economic benefits, such as gambling revenues and tourism impacts on local businesses and infrastructure. The negative effects can be measured by cost of illness measures, such as quality of life weights (DWs). However, there is a need to understand the intangible costs that are not directly measurable, such as social harms and health-related quality of life impacts on family members of problem gamblers.

If you struggle with gambling, try to reduce your exposure by visiting casinos or online gambling sites only when it is socially acceptable and not for the purpose of making money. It is helpful to set a fixed amount of money that you are willing to lose before you start gambling, and stick to it. Do not use credit cards to gamble. If you are struggling to stop, try a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. Find healthy ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up new hobbies and interests.