The Costs and Impacts of Gambling

Gambling is an activity that involves risking something of value (money or possessions) in the hope of gaining something else of value, such as winning money. People can gamble by playing games of chance or skill, such as card games, fruit machines, football accumulators or scratchcards, or by betting on events, such as horse and greyhound races or elections.

Gamblers can experience problems with gambling in many different ways, and it is important to get help as soon as possible. Problem gambling can cause serious harm to your physical and mental health, as well as affecting your relationships with friends and family, work or study performance and can leave you in debt or even homeless. You can find support for a gambling problem by talking to a friend, family member or health professional.

Alternatively, you can join a peer support group for gamblers such as Gamblers Anonymous. They follow a 12-step program based on Alcoholics Anonymous and can offer invaluable guidance and advice on how to overcome a gambling addiction.

Despite the obvious benefits of gambling, the costs and impacts are not always clearly understood or considered. This is largely because there are both personal and interpersonal impacts, and these can be hidden or not recognized by individuals themselves. There are also societal/community level external costs, which are often monetary in nature and include general costs/benefits, cost/benefits related to problem gambling and long-term costs. Moreover, it is challenging to measure intangible benefits and costs of gambling because they are difficult or impossible to quantify in dollar terms.

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