Gambling is an activity where people place a bet or wager against something in the hope of winning money. It’s an exciting recreational activity and many people enjoy it as a way to socialise or escape worries and stress. But for some people it can become an addictive and dangerous habit. Often the root cause of gambling problems is mental health issues and it’s important to seek help if you’re struggling. If you’re worried you may be suffering from an addiction to gambling, there are a range of support services available including peer and specialist groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, based on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also seek debt advice from StepChange, a free and confidential service for people in financial crisis.
Gambling can be a fun and rewarding hobby, especially for those who are good at it. The adrenaline rush of winning cash and the sense of achievement are real rewards that can boost a person’s self-esteem and confidence. It’s also a great way to meet new friends, as people often gather to watch sports events or play casino games together.
However, it can also have negative impacts on a person’s life and their relationships with others. These impacts are categorized into personal, interpersonal and community/society levels (Fig. 1). Personal impacts affect individuals directly, while interpersonal and community/societal effects impact those who are not gamblers themselves. Examples of impacts include changes in financial situations, such as increased debt or the loss of a job.