Gambling is an activity where you risk money or anything else of value in the hope of winning something. This is usually achieved by playing games of chance, such as betting on football matches or scratchcards. In order to gamble, you must be aware of the risks involved and understand how the game works. In this article we look at the basics of gambling, how it affects people and what you can do if you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s gambling habits.
Gambling has been found to induce impacts on personal, interpersonal and community/society levels (Fig. 1). These impacts can be categorized as financial, labor and health/wellbeing. The most common impacts observed have been on the financial level, with increased debt and financial strain being a major concern for gamblers and their families. This often leads to escalating into bankruptcy and homelessness, which can have a profoundly negative impact on the lives of everyone involved.
The impact on community/society levels can also be significant. For example, when gambling is introduced to a city, it can lead to more tourism and increased revenues for local businesses. This can also have an effect on the availability of other leisure activities, such as museums and restaurants. The increase in gambling can also lead to higher housing prices, which can be a concern for some residents.
Another potential negative impact of gambling is the loss of employment opportunities. This can be due to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and reduced performance. Some gambling games also require the player to make a large financial commitment, which can be difficult for those who have high spending tendencies or are experiencing problems with addiction.
Despite these negative effects, gambling is a popular pastime with many people, especially in the UK. This is because it can be a fun and exciting way to socialise with friends, and can be a great form of entertainment in the right circumstances. However, it is important to know the risks involved and to avoid gambling when you’re feeling low or stressed. Instead, try to find healthier ways to self-soothe unpleasant feelings or relieve boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or taking up new hobbies.
If you’re worried that your gambling is affecting your mental or physical wellbeing, speak to a counsellor. They’re available 24/7, free and confidential. They’ll be able to give you advice on how to stop and help you get back on track.