Gambling Impacts

Gambling involves betting something of value on a random event and winning a prize – it can include everything from football matches to scratchcards. It is important to understand the causes of problematic gambling and identify risk factors. Men are more likely to develop problem gambling than women, but people of all ages can be vulnerable. Many young people struggle to control their time spent playing video and mobile games that ask for micro-transactions and payments, while older adults can experience loneliness and boredom and be tempted to gamble.

While there are some benefits of gambling, it is not without cost to individuals and society. Gambling impacts can be grouped into three classes: financial, labor, and health and well-being. The financial class includes gambling revenues, tourism, and changes in infrastructure costs or value. The labor and health impact of gambling is characterized by changes in work performance, absenteeism, or inability to work, job losses, and gains.

Understanding how gambling affects a person can help family and friends support a loved one who is struggling. If a loved one is addicted to gambling, they may need help to break the habit. It is also important to build up social connections that do not involve gambling – try joining a book club, sports team, education class or volunteering for a worthy cause. A peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous can also be very helpful for some people. Lastly, it is important to understand that good stewardship practices are affected by the urge to gamble. Investing money in the lottery or other gambling activities can divert resources away from meeting basic needs, providing for a family, or supporting a ministry.