The Impacts of Gambling



Gambling is an activity where a person places something of value, like money or property, on an event that involves chance. It can also involve playing casino games, such as slots or card games. The outcome of the gamble is determined by a combination of chance and strategy, or pure luck. People who gamble often seek excitement and enjoyment through winning money, although it’s important to remember that gambling can cause harm to people. This is why many organisations offer support, assistance and counselling for people who are affected by problem gambling.

When someone gambles, their brain releases dopamine, a chemical that makes them feel excited. However, this effect can become addictive and lead to gambling disorder. It can also affect family and friendships, as individuals addicted to gambling may place their habit before other things in their lives. This can leave their loved ones feeling angered, betrayed or resentful, and can result in long-lasting damage to relationships.

Various studies have examined the impacts of gambling, and they can be divided into personal, interpersonal, and community/society levels (Fig. 1). The personal level impacts are induced by gamblers themselves, and they include invisible costs such as mental stress and anxiety. The interpersonal and society/community level impacts include costs imposed by others, such as increased debt and financial strain. These costs can lead to bankruptcy and homelessness. On the other hand, a positive impact is that gambling revenue can be used for charitable causes.