Gambling is the wagering of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on an uncertain event whose outcome depends on chance or accident. It requires three elements: consideration, risk and a prize. While gambling may have positive impacts on society in general, it can also have harmful and problematic effects for gamblers and their significant others. These can be structural, affecting the gambler’s personal and interpersonal relationships, and/or external, influencing the community/society at large. These impacts can be observed at the personal, interpersonal and community/societal levels (Fig. 1).
Negative gambling impacts can be structural, affecting the gambler’s financial situation and/or their well-being. These include financial strain, debt and bankruptcy. Problem gambling can also create negative psychological and physical health consequences, such as anxiety and depression. These problems can have long-term effects, even after the person stops gambling. Moreover, gambling activities can cause social isolation, especially among people who are dependent on the income from gambling.
Positive aspects of gambling include opportunities to socialize, both in real casinos and online. This is because many gamblers like to socialize with other people, either by playing games together or by discussing strategy. This can be beneficial for people who are looking to make new friends or escape from their daily routines. Furthermore, gambling can be a fun way to relieve unpleasant emotions such as boredom or stress. However, there are healthier and more effective ways to relieve unpleasant feelings such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up a new hobby or participating in a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.