What is Gambling?
Gambling is a game of chance where you stake something of value for the chance to win money. It can be as simple as a lottery ticket or as complex as betting on a football match, scratchcards or playing online games. The money you risk can add up quickly and it’s important to think carefully about how much you can afford to lose.
Historically gambling has been seen as a criminal activity and, while it has been outlawed in some areas, it’s still widely practiced. In fact, it’s estimated that about half of the population in the UK gambles at least occasionally.
The emergence of the internet has also made gambling more accessible to everyone on a worldwide scale, including in countries where it is illegal. In some cases, even legal forms of gambling can be addictive.
People who have problems with gambling may be at increased risk of suicide or having thoughts about it. They might be in debt or homeless and have problems at work or with their relationships.
Problem gambling can be a serious issue, but there are ways to help stop it. Counselling is an option that can be free and confidential. It can also provide support for family and friends who are concerned about someone’s gambling.
There is also a range of online support groups where people can discuss their experiences with gambling. These groups are often very helpful and can give you hope. They can help you see how you can change your gambling habits, and they’ll give you tips to stop your problem.
The impact of gambling on someone’s life can be huge, and it isn’t easy to stop the behaviour. It can cause financial problems, harm your relationship, affect your mental health and performance at work or study and get you into trouble with the law.
It’s important to understand what gambling is and how it works, so you can make better decisions about how much money you spend. If you have a gambling problem, you can get free and confidential support from StepChange.
Stigma and shame related to gambling are common in many cultures. They can be particularly strong in small communities and in people who are incarcerated. The stigma is also experienced by the people who are affected by a person’s gambling, and can create feelings of guilt or denial.
Harm minimisation is a common term used in public health approaches to gambling. However, this term is ambiguous and does not capture the breadth of gambling related harms or the complexity of their experience.
These findings indicate that a more precise and consistent definition of harm is needed, in order to operationalise gambling related harm and provide a measure of it that can be linked to other public health issues. A more comprehensive understanding of the complexity and breadth of harms and the impact they have on individuals, families and communities will help to inform future treatment practices and policy.