Gambling is the act of risking money or something else of value in a game that involves chance. It can include playing casino games such as poker, blackjack and roulette or betting on sports events like horse racing and boxing. Gambling is often illegal, but some people do it anyway, either to win big money or just for fun. Some people become addicted to gambling and end up in troubled situations such as debt, family conflicts or even bankruptcy. Despite these negative effects, some people argue that gambling can bring benefits to communities, such as increased revenue and social support facilities.
Studies of gambling have largely ignored social impacts, preferring to focus on economic costs and benefits that can be easily quantified. However, social impacts of gambling can have a wide variety of consequences, from reducing happiness and stress to increasing anxiety and fostering depression. These effects are also influenced by other factors, such as mood disorders and substance abuse.
Supporters of gambling argue that it attracts tourists and that restrictions only drive the business to illegal operations or other regions that allow it. Opponents counter that problem gamblers cost society by running up enormous debts and draining their personal and household income and savings. Social costs can also include a reduction in productivity and the costs of psychological counseling for gamblers who have problems with addiction. These costs can be incurred at the individual, interpersonal and community/societal levels.