Whether it is placing a bet on the Lotto, playing Blackjack or tossing a coin in the air, gambling involves taking a risk for a chance at winning more money or something of value. It is a common activity that most people partake in from time to time but for some it becomes a serious addiction that can have lasting consequences.
Traditionally, the term “gambling” has been used to describe activities that require no skill or involve chance, such as slot machines and lottery games. However, the modern definition of gambling is broader and includes wagering on events with uncertain outcomes. It is often associated with high stakes and an intensely pleasurable experience (as described by many patients with pathological gambling) and may result in negative consequences such as: (4) lying to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling; (5) chasing losses by spending more money on gambling to try to recover previous losses; (6) jeopardizing significant relationships, employment, educational opportunities, or financial stability to finance gambling; (7) committing illegal acts, such as forgery, fraud, theft, embezzlement, or other criminal activities, to fund gambling; (8) using credit cards to obtain cash for gambling; or (9) relying on others to provide funds to gamble.
In the research of gambling, longitudinal studies are valuable because they allow researchers to identify and understand a respondent’s onset, development, and maintenance of both normative and problem gambling behavior. Longitudinal data also facilitate the identification of underlying factors that moderate and exacerbate problem gambling participation as well as the inference of causality.