Gambling is placing something of value at risk (usually money) on an event where there is a chance to win a substantially larger prize. It is a form of entertainment that can be done in a variety of ways such as purchasing a lottery ticket, betting on horses or sports events, using the pokies, playing bingo, slot machines, dice, and other games.
While gambling can provide relaxation and comfort, it can also have negative impacts. It is important to recognise these impacts in order to make informed choices and reduce the likelihood of problem gambling.
In general, gambling impacts can be divided into three classes: benefits, costs and effects. Benefits may be observed on personal and interpersonal levels and include the increase in financial status, while costs are incurred by those around the gambler such as their families. Impacts are also observable at community/societal level and include the cost of gambling-related services.
Problem gambling can be a way to relieve unpleasant emotions, such as loneliness or boredom. However, there are other healthier and more effective ways to manage moods, such as exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or trying new hobbies. It is important to understand the underlying reasons for problematic gambling, as these can be difficult to identify and change. If you think your gambling is becoming problematic, seek help by calling a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, speaking with a therapist, or seeking treatment at a specialised clinic.