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Gambling

Gambling is an activity in which people place money or other value on a random event with the intention of winning something of greater value. It involves taking a risk on a game of chance, such as card games, fruit machines, lotteries or betting on events like football accumulators or horse and greyhound races.

The main reasons for someone to gamble are: for entertainment, a way of making money or as a form of escape from stress or boredom. However, for some people these positive feelings are short lived and when they begin to lose more than they win the gambling becomes problematic. For these individuals the gambling is no longer about entertainment or escaping from stress but rather it becomes an addiction that leads to harms for themselves and their loved ones.

Problem gambling can have impacts at three levels: financial, labor and health/wellbeing. Financial impacts include the economic contributions of gambling such as gambling revenues and tourism, effects on other businesses and changes in infrastructure costs or values. The labour impacts are those gambling has on work and can include issues such as absenteeism, reduced performance, inability to work, job losses or unemployment. The health and well-being impacts relate to the negative consequences of problem gambling for an individual’s physical, psychological and social functioning.

The difficulties in measuring these impacts stem primarily from the fact that gambling is multifaceted and can affect people in many different ways. As such, research to date has tended to focus on the direct economic and labour impacts of gambling without taking into account other social costs and benefits that are difficult to quantify in monetary terms.