Gambling is a risky activity where participants stake something of value on an uncertain outcome. It is a common pastime in most cultures and takes place at places like casinos, racetracks, gas stations and online. While most people gamble for money, there are also other reasons for gambling such as socialization or the thrill of winning. However, gambling can be harmful for some, especially if it is compulsive. It can lead to financial ruin, personal and family problems, and even suicide or suicidal thoughts. This article explores the negative and positive effects of gambling and how to seek help if you think you have a problem.
The costs and benefits of gambling can be observed at three different levels: financial, labor, and health and well-being (Fig. 1). The financial impacts of gambling include gambling revenues, changes in tourism, and infrastructure costs or values. The labor impacts of gambling can include job losses and gains, changes in productivity, and absenteeism or reduced performance at work. The health and well-being impacts of gambling include psychological, social, and physical wellness.
While many people gamble for fun, it is important to recognize if you have a gambling problem so you can get help. Some people have a hard time admitting they have a problem, as they may feel guilty or deny that their gambling is out of control. In addition, some people may not have a good support system to turn to when they are having trouble with gambling.