The Impacts of Gambling

Gambling is any activity in which a person risks something of value, such as money or possessions, for the chance to gain something of greater value, such as winning a prize. People gamble for a variety of reasons: for fun, to experience an adrenaline rush, socialise or escape worries and stress. Gambling can lead to addiction and affect your mental health. It is important to recognise the warning signs and get help if you think you or a loved one have a problem with gambling.

People gamble in casinos, on television, over the internet and in their own homes. They can place a bet on anything, from a football team to an election. The choice of the event to bet on is matched with ‘odds’, which are set by the betting company and determine how much money a person could win if they win their bet.

There are a number of different methodological approaches used to research the impacts of gambling. These include a cost of illness approach, which considers the costs of harms in terms of common units (e.g. dollars), and a cost-benefit analysis, which attempts to measure the benefits of gambling as well as the associated costs.

There are also many personal and interpersonal costs of gambling that are invisible to the individual and these are often overlooked. These include family distress, risk-taking behaviour and escalating debt. At the community/society level, external impacts are largely monetary and include general costs/benefits, costs related to problem gambling and long-term costs.