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Gambling involves placing something of value, such as money or goods, on a random event and hoping to win. It can involve betting on a sporting event, a game of chance or buying scratchcards. The odds of winning are set by the gambling company, and vary depending on the type of event or game.

Many people who gamble do so for social reasons, such as meeting friends in a casino or betting with fellow members of a club. Others are motivated by the desire to win, and often dream about what they will do with a big jackpot. People who are genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviour and impulsivity may be more likely to develop a gambling problem. Personality traits and coexisting mental health conditions can also influence the risk of problematic gambling.

Some of the harms associated with gambling are monetary, while others have non-monetary consequences. In the past, research on gambling impacts has focused mainly on costs, but a more holistic view is needed. This article proposes a conceptual model of gambling impacts that incorporates costs and benefits, and identifies three classes: financial, labor and health, and well-being.

If you’re worried about someone in your life who has a gambling addiction, reach out to them for help and support. There are a number of effective treatments available, including outpatient and residential treatment programs and rehab. If necessary, you can seek help for yourself as well, and find a support group for people with gambling addictions like Gamblers Anonymous.