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Gambling is an activity that involves betting on an event – this could be a football match, a lottery, or a scratchcard. The event’s outcome is determined by chance and nobody knows for certain whether they will win or lose. This creates a feeling of excitement and euphoria, and makes it hard for people to stop gambling once they start. The activity also releases dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that causes feelings of pleasure and happiness. This is why it can be so addictive.

There are many reasons why people gamble, including socialising with friends and family members, a chance to win money, and the entertainment factor. Some people find that gambling helps them to forget about their problems or worries. Others feel a sense of accomplishment after winning a prize, such as a trip or a new car. Regardless of the reason, it is important to remember that gambling is a risky activity and should be treated as such.

It is also important to note that gambling has external impacts, which affect people who are not gamblers themselves. These effects can be seen at the personal, interpersonal, and community/society levels. For example, the financial strain caused by gambling can impact family members, and the escalation of problem gambling can lead to bankruptcy and homelessness. This type of impact is often overlooked because it is not monetary and therefore difficult to measure. However, it is important to consider the impact of gambling as it can have long-term effects that can change a person’s life course and even pass between generations.