The Dangers of Gambling


Gambling is when people risk something of value (money, possessions or reputation) in an attempt to predict the outcome of a game involving chance. Whether you’re betting on a football team to win, playing a scratchcard or taking part in a poker tournament, chances of winning or losing are based on random events that cannot be controlled by the player. While gambling can be a great way to socialise, it’s important to recognise the warning signs and know how to seek help.

This study was a qualitative research project that involved focus groups and semi-structured interviews with individuals who identified themselves as either ‘people who gamble’ or ‘people who have been affected by someone else’s gambling behaviour’. Interviews were conducted in person or over the telephone, and ranged from twenty to sixty minutes in length.

Harm from gambling is a well-established phenomenon that affects individuals, families and communities. Despite this, an internationally agreed definition of harm remains elusive. As a result, policy and research often relies on inadequate proxy measures such as problem gambling diagnostic criteria or behavioural symptoms, which limit the understanding of harm from a public health perspective.

Regardless of whether it’s for the money, excitement or to relieve boredom, gambling can become addictive and lead to devastating consequences. A gambling problem can strain relationships and work, and it can cause you to do things that you wouldn’t usually do – like run up huge debts or steal to fund your habit. This can have serious consequences for your health, and even your life.

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