Gambling is an activity where people place a wager (or stake) with the intention of winning something of value. This could be money, or another item of value, such as an experience or an object.

Gambling can be addictive and it can cause problems in your relationships, finances, and health. If you or a loved one have a gambling problem, there are treatments and support available.

Understanding Gambling Harm

There is currently no internationally agreed definition of harm resulting from gambling, and the current landscape of policy and research uses inadequate proxy measures of harm that impedes efforts to understand gambling related harm. A definition that captures the full breadth of harms caused by gambling is important to enable better, more appropriate measures of harm to be developed.

Defining harm was explored in an inductive manner using the data collected from four different methodologies, literature review, focus groups and interviews with people who gambled, their affected others and community members. The harm experienced by those affected by someone else’s gambling was then categorised, and a conceptual framework of harms emerged that was linked to existing theories in order to generate a taxonomy of harms from gambling.

The first theory that was generated from the data was that harms occur across a number of domains within the life of the person who gambles, their family and friends, and the broader community. These domains were initially identified as six distinct thematic classifications: financial harms, those harms relating to relationships, emotional or psychological harms, impacts on the person’s health, impacts on work, study or economic activity and criminal acts. Further analysis of data relating to people with strong religious beliefs, CALD groups and indigenous populations, identified a seventh classification: cultural harms.