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Gambling

Gambling involves betting money or material goods on an uncertain outcome – whether it be the roll of dice, a spin of the roulette wheel, or the result of a horse race. It is a form of recreation and can be undertaken for enjoyment and social interaction. People also gamble for a variety of other reasons, including to win money and enjoy the thrill of winning.

Many people develop a gambling problem, especially when they start to lose more than they can afford to win. Pathological gambling is a psychological disorder and is treated like other substance addictions. It can be difficult for family members to understand why their loved one is gambling and why they keep losing more than they can afford. However, it is important to remember that the person with a gambling problem didn’t choose to become addicted and doesn’t control their behavior.

The nomenclature used to describe gambling is not consistent across disciplines, and this can lead to confusion. Research scientists, psychiatrists, other treatment care clinicians, and public policy makers tend to frame the issues differently. They may use different paradigms and world views, based on their disciplinary training, experience, and special interests.

In addition, there is a lack of empirical work that examines the external costs associated with gambling. Most of the existing research on gambling has focused on monetary costs at the individual level, and less on community/societal level externalities. The research that does exist has often been approached from a cost of illness perspective, which overlooks benefits and focuses on the negative side of gambling.