Gambling is an activity which requires the gambler to place a bet on something of value. This can be money, a skill or something else of value. The gambler is often motivated to play because they desire to win a prize or get even. They may also use gambling as a way to escape their own problems.
The consequences of gambling are numerous and can affect people in a variety of ways. It can take time away from other activities, and may also create financial stress on family and friends. Problem gambling can have long-term effects that require treatment and support. There are various types of therapy available to treat gambling disorders, including group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and family therapy. Some of these therapies are free and confidential. A National Helpline is also available to help.
There are three primary categories of impacts on the gambling industry: financial, social, and economic. Unlike most industries, gambling has the potential to affect the lives of everyone in a community, from the individual who gambles to the other members of the community. However, there are still a number of questions surrounding the impact of gambling. Most studies have focused on the financial impact.
In addition to monetary costs, gambling impacts can also include costs associated with the suffering of a problem gambler. Some of these harms are invisible and may not be visible until they materialize on a society/community level. For example, problem gamblers who go bankrupt can have an effect on family and friends. Even if the person stops gambling, the damage can be long-term.
Financial impacts are the most commonly reported, but these are usually nonmonetary in nature. These costs include changes in income, job gains, and reduced performance. Those affected by problem gambling are more likely to report missing work, having less time for other activities, and not earning enough. Those who are affected by a problem gambler are more likely to experience other problems, including reduced social integration and increased social isolation.
Many negative impacts of gambling are associated with poverty. Indigenous peoples and others who live in deprived areas are more likely to suffer from the consequences of gambling. Also, people who gamble during work are more likely to experience impaired relationships with coworkers.
While most studies on the impacts of gambling focus on negative outcomes, a few studies have investigated positive benefits. Studies have shown that recreational gamblers report better health than nongamblers, and that seniors who engage in gambling have improved self-concepts.
Some of the more important positive effects of gambling include its ability to reinforce senior self-concepts, and reduce social isolation and social disorganization. In some cases, gambling may have psychological benefits for lower socioeconomic groups, though some of these effects have been studied in small populations.
Gambling is an international commercial activity, with large-scale gambling activities requiring professional organizations. For instance, organized football pools are found in a few African and Asian countries, and state-licensed wagering on other sporting events is common in most countries.