What is Gambling?


Gambling is an activity in which people stake something of value (like money) on a random event that has a chance of yielding a prize. It can include activities like lotteries, casino games, sports betting and online gaming. While the activity can involve some skill, it largely depends on chance and is considered a risky pursuit.

While there are many reasons why a person might gamble, it is important to understand that gambling does cause harms and that those who suffer from gambling problems should seek treatment. Many people have a difficult time acknowledging that they have a problem, and this may be due to the fact that many communities view gambling as a socially acceptable pastime and it is often referred to as ‘just a little bit of fun’.

Moreover, gambling has external impacts that extend beyond the gambler. These can include financial, labour and health and well-being impacts. It is important to examine these impacts at the individual, family and community/society level, as they can have long-term effects that create a change in life course of the gambler and even pass between generations.

A person might gamble for a variety of reasons, from gaining a thrill from the suspense of taking risks to finding socialising opportunities through gambling venues, such as casinos, friendly poker gatherings, or the socialisation offered by online gambling. However, for some people, the motivation to gamble is purely coping-related and they may use gambling as an escape from a stressful or depressing life.

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