Gambling is the act of placing a bet on something, like a football match or playing a scratchcard. The odds are determined by the betting company, but it’s impossible to know for sure what will happen.
It can be addictive and cause problems, including serious debts and homelessness. It can also lead to thoughts of suicide.
Mental health professionals use criteria to diagnose gambling disorder, and it’s classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). You can find out if you have a problem by talking to a GP or other healthcare professional.
Some people gamble to relax and enjoy themselves but for others, it can be a dangerous and addictive activity. It can harm their physical and mental health, relationships, performance at work or study and even get them into trouble with the law.
The social impacts of gambling are difficult to quantify, and studies have been conducted from various perspectives including cost of illness and economic cost-benefit analysis (CBA). These approaches primarily consider the effects of gambling on a person or a group, and do not include the nonmonetary social costs associated with it.
The social costs of gambling are largely unrecognized, and many are invisible. These include general costs, such as lost opportunities and the pain and suffering experienced by problem gamblers, and long-term costs, such as the social consequences of family members who have been affected by the behavior.