Gambling – Health Issues


Gambling involves placing something of value at risk on an event with an element of chance, with the intent of winning a prize. This can be done by betting on a variety of things including sporting events, horse races, dice, cards, slots and scratch tickets. It is also possible to gamble through online gaming.

While gambling can be a fun activity, it is important to keep in mind that it is not always harmless. People can be addicted to gambling and it can lead to financial problems. In addition, it can have a negative impact on health and relationships. Those who are experiencing gambling addiction should seek treatment from a professional.

Problem gamblers often hide their gambling behaviour from others. This may be because they are embarrassed or feel ashamed. They may also lie to friends and family about how much money they are spending on gambling. It is common for people with a gambling problem to have other mental health problems as well.

People with a gambling disorder have a heightened risk of developing substance use disorders. They are also at a greater risk of suicide and domestic violence. They are also at a higher risk of becoming homeless and of losing their jobs.

When someone is struggling with a gambling addiction, they should speak to their GP or a counsellor. People can also seek support from family and friends, or find alternative recreational activities and hobbies to replace gambling. This can help them to manage their urges and prevent relapse.

In some cases, the person with a gambling disorder might have to stop gambling altogether. This can be difficult, but it is important for their physical and emotional wellbeing. The Better Health Channel fact sheet ‘Gambling – health issues’ has information and tips about how to quit gambling.

It is a good idea to avoid gambling when you are feeling down or under pressure. It can be tempting to gamble when you are depressed or upset, but this will usually make the situation worse. People should also avoid gambling with other people who have a gambling problem, as they can be tempted to copy their habits.

If you have a gambling problem, it is a good idea to set a budget for how much you will spend on gambling each week. This should be separate from your expenses such as food, housing and utilities. If you are struggling to resist the temptation to gamble, try using a gambling diary to track your thoughts and feelings and when you’ve reached your limits. Also, don’t try to chase your losses – this will usually lead to bigger losses.

Gambling is a complex issue, and it’s hard to measure its benefits and costs. Typical gross impact studies are highly generalised and do not attempt to consider indirect effects, real and transfer effects, and expenditure substitution.