The Positive and Negative Effects of Gambling



Gambling is a wagering of something of value, often money, on an event with the intention of winning something else of value. There are some instances of strategy involved, but the outcome is determined largely by chance. It is a popular pastime, with evidence of it being played as far back as 2,300 B.C. Whether it’s betting on football matches, horse races, the pokies or other games of chance, most people gamble in some way. It also contributes to the economy, especially in countries where it is prevalent.

For some consumers, gambling is a source of motivation and can provide meaning and purpose in their lives, particularly for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. They may enjoy the sense of accomplishment associated with winning and hope that gambling will lead to improved financial circumstances. It can also be a social activity where they meet people and build friendships. Some people may even benefit from a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Despite this, there are a number of negative effects that can occur from gambling. These impacts can be seen at the personal, interpersonal and community/society level and can affect those who gamble as well as others. For example, the costs and benefits associated with gambling can have a long-term impact on individuals’ finances, health and wellbeing. These can include increased debt, stress and depression. These can be exacerbated by other issues such as relationship problems, work issues or financial crisis. If you are worried about your gambling, speak to your doctor for advice or contact StepChange for free, confidential debt advice.