Gambling is placing something of value on a random event with the hope of winning a prize. The chances of winning are influenced by chance, skill, and knowledge. This includes sports betting, card games and other casino activities.
Gamblers are motivated by a variety of reasons, such as social interaction and the thrill of winning. Problem gambling causes psychological, social and financial problems for gamblers and their families. There are many resources available to help people overcome gambling addiction, including the free debt advice service StepChange.
Some forms of gambling are less serious, such as playing card or board games for small amounts with friends or pooling money to buy lottery tickets. Other forms are more serious, such as professional gambling where a person earns a living from a game or games that require advanced skills and strategy.
Most research into the impacts of gambling focuses on its monetary costs and benefits. Invisible, personal and interpersonal effects have been overlooked, despite the fact that they can add up to significant cost.
These include the costs of maintaining a relationship with a gambler, the effects on family members and work colleagues, and the impact on society/community in terms of gambling addiction and the associated social harms. It is important to consider the full spectrum of impacts in order to make informed policy decisions. This article aims to review complementing and contrasting views on the positive and negative impacts of gambling from an economic, public health and psychosocial perspective.