Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event, with the intent of winning another item of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. This activity can have negative, as well as positive impacts on individuals and communities. For example, gambling can provide a way for people to make extra income, which may help them improve their financial situation. It can also bring people together in a social setting and create a sense of community spirit. However, gambling can also lead to a variety of mental health problems such as addiction and depression. It can also affect people’s ability to control their impulses and evaluate risks. People with certain genetic or psychological dispositions are more prone to developing a gambling problem, as well as those who suffer from an underactive brain reward system.
A study of gambling impacts, conducted using a public health approach, can help identify the costs and benefits associated with the activity. This information can be used to inform gambling policy and regulation decisions that will reduce or increase the costs and benefits of gambling. While many studies have examined monetary impacts, there are few that have looked at personal and interpersonal impacts. In addition, the methodological challenges of estimating non-monetary effects, such as quality of life and social cohesion, have led to their neglect in gambling impact calculations.
Psychological therapies can help someone overcome their gambling problem by addressing the underlying issues that contribute to it. Inpatient or residential programs are available for those who cannot manage their gambling problem on their own, and offer round-the-clock care and support.