The Effects of Gambling

Gambling involves placing something of value (money, goods or services) on an event with a random outcome. The event is usually a game of chance, but can also include games of skill such as poker and keno. It is a common activity in casinos, but can also take place on online and mobile platforms. Many forms of gambling use money as a medium for wagers, but can also involve materials with value such as marbles and trading cards in board games like Pogs and Magic: The Gathering.

Gambling can have negative and positive effects on individuals, families, communities and societies. The positive side includes revenue generated by gambling, and the potential for social interaction among people in gambling venues. The negative side includes the opportunity for compulsive gambling and its associated costs, especially for those who develop a problem with it.

These costs are often invisible and difficult to quantify, although the evidence suggests that societal/community level externalities from problem gambling can be significant. These may include indirect expenses such as loss of productivity in the workplace, increased health care cost, strained family relationships and increased crime committed by gamblers.

If you are concerned that your gambling is becoming a problem, it can help to seek support from friends and family. You can also join a gambling recovery group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step programme similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. It is also a good idea to set money and time limits before you begin gambling, and never chase your losses.