Gambling is an activity where people risk money, goods or other items of value in order to win a prize. This can include playing the lottery, fruit machines or scratch cards.
In many places, gambling is a legal and popular way to spend time, with a huge amount of money wagered annually around the world. The largest legal gambling markets are in Europe and North America, although it is also common in many Asian countries.
A gambler is someone who has a problem with gambling, which can cause them to lose money and harm their family and friends. If you think someone you know has a problem with gambling, there are ways to help them.
You can support them to stop gambling, or you can help them control their gambling so that they don’t end up losing money. There are also many helpful organisations that provide information about gambling and can give advice and support to people who have problems with it.
Understanding gambling is important for all of us to understand, as it is an addictive behaviour that can have a negative impact on our lives and our relationships. It’s important to remember that all forms of gambling involve risk, and should not be considered a form of income or wealth building.
Harm from gambling can have serious consequences, including financial losses and mental health issues, such as depression. It is important to learn about gambling and the signs of a problem, so that you can act quickly to prevent or stop your loved one from losing their money or becoming mentally ill.
The most commonly reported harms are financial, relationship and emotional and psychological distress. They occur as both primary and secondary or further order harms, often exacerbated by the impact of other harms.
General financial harms were identified as instances where people who gambled accumulated debt and lost surplus income or financial resources to the point that they could no longer afford their regular expenses, without the assistance of other sources of funding. These harms impacted on the person who gambled and affected others, and could be seen as a loss of rational choice, a sense of automaticity or a loss of control over their finances.
Relationship harms were identified as instances where a person who gambled and/or affected others experienced disruption or conflict within their relationship, with these occurring as both primary and secondary or further order harms. They occurred as a result of a range of factors, with issues such as time and trust underlying them.
The loss of trust within the relationship was a significant issue for both the person who gambled and affected others. It was also a factor that was associated with instances of second order harms related to shame and stigma.