The Consequences of Gambling

Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. It can be done through a number of different methods including betting on sports, horse races and other events. It is also possible to play online poker games, which require some degree of skill and strategy. However, gambling is also a form of entertainment and many people gamble for fun or to relieve boredom.

Problem gambling is an addictive behaviour that has a variety of negative psychological, emotional, physical and social repercussions. It is considered a mental health issue and is included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition. It is estimated that around 2.6% of Australians have a gambling disorder.

Whether it’s buying a Lotto ticket, placing a bet on the horse racing or hitting the pokies, everyone gambles from time to time. Generally, gambling is not considered harmful if it is only done on occasion and if you win more than you lose. Problem gambling becomes a problem when it starts to negatively affect your life, work or home life and is a constant source of stress.

There are a number of negative consequences of gambling, from money problems to relationship difficulties. Problem gambling can also impact your children’s behaviour. They may become moody or angry, withdrawn or isolated. If you know someone with a gambling problem it can be difficult to talk to them about it. Try not to put them down or say things like ‘You’re an awful gambler’ as it can be confusing for them and they might start to think that you don’t love them.

The financial consequences of gambling can be severe and can lead to debt, credit card issues and bankruptcy. It can also cause a loss of employment and income which can create further debt, leading to a vicious cycle. Problem gamblers can also be at risk of committing illegal acts. Often they are desperate to win and will do whatever it takes, even if that means breaking the law.

The social impacts of gambling are less well understood, as they can be difficult to quantify. They can be seen at personal, interpersonal and community/societal levels and are categorized as monetary, labor and health and well-being. The monetary class includes a combination of direct and indirect costs, such as losses in gambling activity, lost wages, changes in productivity and the use of family members’ wages for gambling purposes. The labor and health/well-being classes include psychological, personal, physical and social effects of gambling, as well as financial consequences such as job loss, reduced performance at work, poorer health, family and relationship tensions and a decline in overall happiness.