Gambling is an activity that involves risking something of value, such as money or possessions, on an event that has a random outcome. It can be done at a casino, sports venue or online gambling site. The gambler hopes to win a prize, which can be anything from a small amount of money to an expensive item. Gambling can lead to problems if not controlled. Whether you’re trying to win the lotto or have a quick bet on the pokies, it’s important to be aware of the risks and the costs.
Gambling impacts are observed at personal, interpersonal and community/society levels (see figure 1). Impacts at the individual level include both non-monetary and monetary effects. Non-monetary effects are largely invisible and involve things like increased tension in relationships with significant others, financial difficulties that cause family members to seek help for the gambler, or the escalation of debt into bankruptcy and homelessness.
At the community/society level, external impacts are mainly monetary in nature and include general costs, costs related to problem gambling and long-term cost. Some of these costs are visible, such as increased tax revenue to the local government that can be spent on improving infrastructure, health or education. Other costs are not so obvious, such as the loss of jobs in the gaming industry or the decrease in productivity at work due to the time lost to gambling.
Gambling can also provide social settings for friends and family to meet, especially if they’re at a casino or sports betting venue. However, it’s important to understand why you gamble and not let it become a habit that causes harm.