Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome. It involves putting money or other material items at risk on the result of a random event, such as the roll of a dice or the spin of a roulette wheel. While there are many forms of gambling, the most common involve money or items of material value. For example, card games like poker or bridge and board games such as Monopoly or Magic: The Gathering are often considered to be gambling activities. Typically, these activities are conducted with real or virtual money and are social in nature, although they can also be competitive.

The psychological effects of gambling can range from minor behavioral changes to a full-blown disorder. People who gamble can suffer from anxiety, depression, family conflicts and addictions. The majority of individuals who gamble do so for entertainment and social interaction. But a small group of individuals become seriously involved, investing substantial time and money in the activity. They continue to gamble despite negative personal, social and financial consequences. These individuals are referred to as disordered gamblers.

Several studies have attempted to estimate the economic impact of gambling. However, most gross impact studies tend to focus on a single aspect of economic effects and do not pretend to provide a balanced perspective. They may ignore costs or underestimate the magnitude of those costs. More rigorous economic analysis methods are needed to identify benefits and costs.