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Gambling involves risking money or other items of value in an attempt to predict the outcome of a game of chance, such as lotteries, horse races, games of skill, and sports events. Some people gamble responsibly and enjoy it as a form of entertainment, while others find it difficult to control their gambling and end up spending more than they can afford, accumulating debts, and even damaging relationships with family members. Some people also become addicted to gambling, which is considered a serious disorder. The condition can cause a variety of physical and psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. If you have a problem with gambling, there are several ways to seek help. You can contact a support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, or talk to a family member or friend. In addition, many states have services to help people with gambling addictions, including a national hotline and peer support programs.

The costs and benefits of gambling are complex, involving not only the individual gambler but the entire community/society. This complexity makes it challenging to determine the true costs of gambling, especially when studies focus on only the harms associated with pathological or problem gambling. This is a major shortcoming of gambling-related economic impact analyses.

Moreover, intangible costs and benefits are often overlooked because they are difficult or impossible to measure or quantify in dollar terms. However, research is advancing in the area of identifying these intangible effects.