Gambling is wagering something of value on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value. It requires three elements to be present: consideration, risk and a prize. Gambling can be done in many ways, including playing card games or board games for money with friends, participating in a sports betting pool, or buying lottery tickets. In some cases, gambling is organized by commercial establishments such as casinos and racetracks.
There are both negative and positive aspects to gambling. Negative aspects include the potential for addiction, financial distress and the loss of a sense of control. Positive aspects include the opportunity for socialization, entertainment and relaxation.
Gambling has impacts at the individual, interpersonal and community/society levels. At the personal level, impacts affect gamblers themselves. At the interpersonal level, they affect those close to them such as family and friends. At the community/society level, they are mostly external — such as the costs of problem gambling and its long-term effects — and affect more people than the gambler themselves.
Many studies focus on the economic costs and benefits of gambling. However, studies of gambling impacts at the personal and community/society levels are less common. This is mainly due to the complexity of identifying these types of impacts. They are also difficult to measure, since they are often not monetary in nature. For example, the costs of gambling can include psychological stress and anxiety, as well as social distancing and depression.