Gambling is the wagering of something of value (like money or chips) on a random event (like a football game, horse race or scratchcard) with the intention of winning something else of value. It requires three elements: consideration, risk and a prize. It can take place in brick-and-mortar and online casinos and other locations. It can also occur in private settings where friends or family members wager against each other, such as poker games or card games. In these cases the stakes are often small and intended for friendly competition.

Compulsive gambling can cause a variety of social and psychological problems. It can be difficult for people to quit, and they may continue gambling even when they have lost a substantial amount of money or are in financial trouble. People with mental health issues are more likely to be at risk of gambling problems than those without them. The addiction can damage relationships, causing individuals to prioritise their gambling over those they care about. It can even lead to resentment, anger, betrayal and loss of close friendships.

In addition to personal costs, gambling can have social and economic impacts on society and the community as a whole. These impacts can be modeled using a benefits and costs framework. In general, benefits manifest at the societal level and involve increased economic activity. On the other hand, costs are incurred at the personal and interpersonal levels and include invisible individual costs as well as external, or societal, costs such as problem gambling and long-term costs.