Gambling involves risking something of value (such as money) on an event that is determined at least partly by chance, such as a football match or a scratchcard. The gambler hopes that they will ‘win’ and gain something of value, such as money or goods. The odds of winning are often not very clear, and some bets may have a house edge. The act of gambling can lead to addiction if the gambler loses more than they win. It is also associated with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Gamblers have many different reasons for gambling, including the adrenaline rush of winning money, socialising with friends and escaping from stress or worries. However, it is important to be aware of the risks and to seek help if you feel that your gambling is out of control.

Generally, the negative effects of gambling are greater for problem gamblers than non-problem gamblers. These effects can be seen at the personal, interpersonal and community/society levels. Personal and interpersonal level impacts are usually non-monetary in nature, while society/community level impacts are mostly monetary.

People who gamble compulsively often have genetic or psychological predispositions that make it hard for them to control their impulses, and are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours to relieve anxiety. They are often more impulsive and have difficulty judging the long-term impact of their decisions, which can lead to a spiral into addiction. It’s important for them to find healthier ways of relieving unpleasant feelings.