Gambling is an activity in which people risk money or other valuables on a random event, such as the outcome of a football match or a scratchcard. It can also include betting, including horse or greyhound racing, football accumulators and other sporting events, and lottery-based gambling. In all forms of gambling, the intention is to win a prize. It is often used as a social activity with friends or family, or even to teach maths and pattern recognition, and can improve critical thinking skills and problem-solving.
However, it is not always beneficial for individuals who gamble and can lead to significant harms. In some cases, gambling can negatively affect a person’s relationships, work or study performance and cause them financial distress, debt or even homelessness. Problem gambling can also cause significant stress, anxiety and depression for those who are affected.
To understand the reasons why people gamble, it is important to understand the psychological and socioeconomic factors that can influence people’s motivations to engage in gambling activities. This is especially important as many of the most prominent gambling products are designed to keep people engaged, and can result in significant harms. To address this, it is imperative that research into the effects of gambling considers a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, and that we include consideration of both benefits and costs – both personal and societal.