Gambling Harms


Gambling can be an enjoyable and fun way to pass the time, but it can also lead to serious problems. It can cause a person to lose money or stop working because they can’t afford to pay their bills, and it can affect relationships and other aspects of life.

In most cases people gamble for social reasons: to make a night out more exciting; to have a good time; or to win money. It can be hard to get rid of gambling because it’s a “high” that can be addictive.

Harms resulting from engagement with gambling were consistently reported across multiple domains of people’s lives and often impacted upon both the person who gambled and others in their community. Initial harms included financial loss, impacts on relationships and the ability to engage with other recreational activities and activities such as work or study, emotional and psychological distress and impact on health.

Legacy harms were also consistently reported and could occur regardless of whether the person who engaged in gambling ceased their behaviour. These were often exacerbated by the impact of other harms and created ongoing decrements to health in some individuals and in some broader populations.

Relationship harms were also commonly experienced, and stemmed from the reduction of time spent with a partner or significant other as well as the loss of trust. These harms were often exacerbated by the perceptions of gambling as a deviant behaviour or against a particular cultural value or expectation.

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