Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event with the intent to win something else of value, where the risk is not necessarily known in advance. Gambling can create benefits and costs on a personal, interpersonal, and community/societal level.
Benefits at a personal level include gaining entertainment from gambling (e.g., watching sports events or attending casinos). For some people, gambling is a form of social interaction because they enjoy meeting people in a social setting and having conversations about the game. Others are motivated to gamble for coping reasons: for example, it helps them forget their problems or make them feel better about their current life circumstances.
At an interpersonal level, gambling can cause harm by making relationships more stressful and by causing negative effects on family members’ lives. For example, problem gamblers often lie to their family members and therapists about their behavior, and they may spend time away from their families in order to engage in gambling. They also might jeopardize or lose a job, education opportunity, or relationship because of their gambling behavior. Moreover, they may steal or cheat in order to fund their gambling addiction.
At a community/societal level, gambling can lead to increases in gambling revenues, which can be used to promote tourism and invest in infrastructure. However, there is also evidence that gambling can increase poverty and erode the quality of life in deprived communities and among lower socioeconomic groups. In addition, gambling can also cause harm by influencing mental health and well-being in vulnerable populations.