Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event with the intent to win something else of value. Whether playing cards with friends for small amounts of money or placing a friendly bet on a sports event, gambling involves consideration, risk, and a prize. While many people consider gambling to be a fun pastime, it can lead to serious financial and personal problems for some. For others, it can be a way to socialise or escape stress and worries. Regardless of the reason, gambling can become addictive and is difficult to stop for some people. If you suspect that your or someone you know has a problem with gambling, seek help from a support group or professional counselling service.
In addition to money, gambling can involve materials that have a value other than cash. These might include marbles, trading cards (such as Magic: The Gathering or Pogs) or collectible game pieces. Players may compete to win the most valuable collection or earn status as a ‘winner’ in a casino. Gambling can also take place online, with a computer program running the odds and paying out winnings.
The main reasons why people gamble are a desire for entertainment, socialising, financial gain and a sense of adventure. However, some people develop a gambling addiction for more serious reasons, such as a lack of self-esteem or the need to cope with stress or depression. People who struggle with these issues are often unable to control their spending or have difficulty coping with the consequences of losing large sums of money. They may even find themselves in legal trouble or at risk of homelessness due to their gambling habits.
Gambling is a significant global industry that generates revenue for governments, which can be used to fund public services or other activities. Some states, including New Hampshire, have even created state lotteries to raise money for government operations. Nevertheless, research on the benefits and costs of gambling has focused on the monetary aspects, while the interpersonal and community/society level impacts have been overlooked.
This article aims to fill this gap in the knowledge by developing a model for identifying and classifying different impacts of gambling. It is based on existing literature and uses a health-related quality of life measure known as disability weights to assess the negative impacts on gamblers and their significant others.
The model divides the impact of gambling into three classes: financial, labor and health, and well-being. The financial impacts include gambling revenues, tourism, and the impacts on other industries. The labor impacts relate to gambling-related changes in work-related productivity and performance, as well as absenteeism and reduced productivity. The health-related quality of life impacts relate to gambling-related changes in a gambler’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of their significant others. The model suggests that more attention should be paid to these non-monetary effects in future research. This would help to identify gaps in the evidence base and improve future policy.