Public Health and Gambling

Gambling is when you risk money or something of value to predict the outcome of a game involving chance. This includes card games, fruit machines and betting with friends. It can also be conducted with materials that have a value, but are not money.

Benefits of gambling are primarily mental and social in nature and include the enhancement of skills, socialization among individuals, and enjoyment. However, some negative effects can be associated with gambling such as stress and addiction.

Costs of gambling are also a major concern. These are nonmonetary costs, such as the emotional stresses and relationship problems that gambling causes.

These costs are often invisible and remain unrecognized until they are recognized by the person or other people. This is especially true when it comes to the long-term costs that may affect a person’s family and life partner.

In a public health approach, gambling harms are evaluated across the entire severity spectrum of the activity. This can help researchers and policymakers to compare the health and social costs and benefits of different gambling policies.

Although gambling is a social and popular leisure time activity, it has significant social and economic impacts that affect the gambler and his/her family. These impacts are categorized into three classes: financial, labor and health, and well-being. These impact categories manifest on the personal, interpersonal, and societal levels. Some of these impacts are positive, such as gambling revenues that can be directed to charitable and community organizations or governments’ gambling revenue that can be earmarked for other purposes, such as public services.