Gambling is a risky behaviour that involves betting something of value on an uncertain event with the intention of winning a larger prize. It can involve a number of activities, such as lotteries, cards, bingo, races and sporting events, instant scratch tickets, slots machines, dice and roulett. It is a popular pastime worldwide and a source of many economic benefits. However, gambling can also have negative effects on individuals, their significant others and communities. These impacts are complex and diverse, affecting different aspects of an individual’s life. They may be induced by a number of factors, including the environment and community in which people live. These factors can influence their approach to gambling and their ability to recognize harmful gambling behaviour. It is important to understand how gambling affects a person and to seek help for problematic behaviour.
Research has shown that some people are genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviours and impulsivity. This can affect how they process reward information, control impulses and weigh risks. Furthermore, there are cultural factors that can influence how a person views gambling and what constitutes a problem. Depending on their culture, they may find it difficult to recognise that they have a gambling problem.
While the negative impacts of gambling are widely known, less research has looked at the positive impacts. A public health approach can help to discover these positive impacts and identify their key characteristics. The impacts can be structuralised into costs and benefits using a model that identifies impacts at the personal, interpersonal and society/community levels.