Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. It involves three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize. Gambling is an activity that affects people on a personal, interpersonal, and society/community level. These impacts can be seen as costs or benefits, and they can be invisible (affecting a gambler on a personal level) or visible (at the interpersonal or society/community levels) to those who are not the gamblers themselves. They can include monetary harms, such as debt and financial strain, that can lead to bankruptcy or homelessness; intangible social harms, such as the loss of relationships, that are not always measurable; or both positive and negative effects on society/community level quality of life, including health-related quality of life (HRQL) weights, also known as disability weights.
Gamblers are often motivated by a desire to gain pleasure, such as spending time with friends and family or eating a delicious meal. In addition, they may be rewarded by the brain’s release of dopamine when they participate in these activities. However, when a person has a gambling disorder, it’s not always easy to quit and can have serious consequences for the person’s life.
Those who have problems with gambling can seek help from counselors or join a peer support group, like Gamblers Anonymous. They can also try to distract themselves by engaging in other activities, such as working out, visiting friends, or reading a book. They can also find new ways to meet people, such as joining a book club, sports team, or volunteering for an organization.