Gambling involves betting something of value on an event that is determined by chance. The bettor takes the risk in the hope of gaining something else of value, usually money. The game is played with consideration and skill, but luck plays a role. Unlike the games of chance played by children, gambling can involve real money and lead to financial problems. There is also a high level of comorbidity between gambling and other psychological disorders, such as depression. It is important to recognize the warning signs of gambling addiction and seek help for it.
Many people who gamble find that they cannot control their spending habits. This can lead to serious financial problems and strain or even break relationships with family and friends. It is a difficult step to admit that you have a gambling problem, but it can be overcome with support and therapy. There are no medications to treat gambling disorder, but several types of psychotherapy can help.
Compared with smoking and alcohol abuse, research on gambling is less well funded. This is partly due to the fact that government health-research agencies have not been used as a lead body for gambling research. Instead, the National Collaborating Centre for Gambling and Behavioural Sciences (NCCG) has taken the lead in gambling research. The NCCG is not an independent research organisation and it receives most of its funding from the gambling industry.
While the NCCG conducts good work, it isn’t appropriate for government health-research bodies to be so heavily dependent on the industry they are supposed to tackle. It is time to review the structure of gambling research and consider involving other health-related agencies.
The negative impacts of gambling are often overlooked by the government and society in general, despite the fact that they can be significant. They include social, labour and health costs. These costs can be categorized into three levels: personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels. The personal/interpersonal level impacts are non-monetary and invisible, while the societal/community level externalities are mostly monetary and include general costs, problem gambling-related costs and long-term costs.
Negative impacts of gambling can have wide-ranging consequences, from increasing crime to decreasing economic activity. They can lead to a decrease in tourism and can cause businesses to close, such as hotels and restaurants. In addition, pathological and problem gambling has been linked to a higher rate of criminal cases and incarceration.
Moreover, gambling can increase the burden on public services, such as police and health care, and increase rates of suicide . In some countries, it has been estimated that pathological gambling contributes $1000 in excess lifetime police costs per person. These costs can also affect the quality of life in a community, and may be measured using disability weights or health-related quality of life (HRQL) measures. This approach to gambling impacts is called a ‘public health’ approach. These approaches can be applied to all forms of gambling and could improve the availability and quality of gambling data.