Gambling is risking something valuable on an event that is determined at least in part by chance, usually in the hope of winning a prize. It can be anything from playing bingo, buying lottery or scratch tickets to betting on office pools.
Understanding what gambling is and how it works can help you protect yourself from harm.
Gambling can be fun and a social activity but it can also have negative consequences for your health, relationships, work or study performance and money. If you think you have a problem with gambling, speak to your doctor, family or friends and find support.
Understanding how to gamble safely and responsibly is an important step in breaking the cycle of gambling. Learn about how to be responsible with your money, plan for losing and make sure you have enough money to cover expenses.
The most common forms of gambling are lotteries and casino gambling. However, there are many other forms of gambling too.
Lotteries are organized in most European countries and some South American nations, as well as some African and Asian states. They are also found on ships that cruise outside territorial waters.
Casinos and racetracks are also popular places for gambling. This form of gambling is not illegal in most nations, but they are still controlled by laws.
When people think of gambling, they often imagine casinos and racetracks, but there are many other locations for gambling including gas stations, church halls, sporting events and on the Internet.
It is estimated that over half of the population in the UK participates in some form of gambling at some stage. Some people enjoy it, others do not, and for those who struggle, gambling can lead to serious problems.
The harm caused by gambling is different for everyone. It can affect your mental and physical health, relationships, work or study performance, and may even result in legal issues or homelessness.
Identifying what harms occur from gambling is difficult because there are so many variables and factors that can contribute to gambling related harm. This is because gambling can be a complex, addictive and self-defeating behaviour that affects many areas of life.
This project aimed to develop a definition of harm from gambling and to explore what it means for individuals, families, communities and wider society. In order to achieve this, a number of focus groups and interviews were conducted across a range of locations with people who gambled and those who experienced harm from gambling.
The most common forms of harm identified by participants were emotional and psychological distress, as well as financial and relationship breakdowns. These were identified as initial, second and further order harms with the most severe forms of these harms being linked to self-harm and suicidal ideation and attempts. The impact of these forms of harm was felt to be underestimated and rarely captured in current health measures.