Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event where instances of strategy are discounted. It takes place in casinos, racetracks, at home on the Internet and other places. It can be a fun way to pass time and can also lead to financial gain if done responsibly. However, if gambling becomes compulsive, it can be disastrous to the gambler, their family and friends. Gambling can have a negative impact on society when it leads to personal and family debt, health problems and even bankruptcy.

Some people gamble for social reasons, to be part of a group activity or because they like the thrill of taking risks. Others enjoy thinking about what they would do if they won a jackpot or how it would change their lifestyle. Then there are those who simply like the feeling of gambling – it releases dopamine in the brain, which can give people that rush and high.

Some people hide their gambling or lie about it to avoid conflict with their families and friends. This can have serious repercussions because it puts a strain on relationships and often makes loved ones feel angered, betrayed or resentful towards the gambler. Others may try to compensate for their losses by sourcing for more money in other ways, including going into debt and engaging in illegal activities. Many studies fail to include these social impacts in their economic costing analyses and focus only on problem gambling. This limits the true economic costs of gambling and gives a biased view of its effects.