The Dangers of Gambling


The word ‘gambling’ is a general term that describes an activity where someone risks something of value in order to win something else of value. This can include things such as lottery tickets, scratch cards or betting with friends on a sports event or in a game of poker or roulette. It can also include activities where people wager items of value that do not necessarily have a cash prize, such as collectable games like marbles or Pogs, where players stake marbles or small discs in a meta-game about the total value of the player’s collection.

Gambling is not always harmful, and the risk of harm from gambling depends on several factors including whether the person has access to help, if they have a good support network, and whether they have a financial cushion. However, it is important to remember that there are significant risks associated with any form of gambling.

The initial themes that emerged from the data around gambling related harm were clear: harms could be classified across a number of domains and at three levels, the person who gambles, their family or community and the broader community. These themes were subsequently refined to focus on the breadth and depth of harms experienced, with a particular emphasis on legacy and intergenerational harms.

Having a strong support network can make a big difference to those struggling with an addiction. This includes being able to set boundaries with the problem gambler, particularly in relation to money management. It can also be helpful to join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model used in Alcoholics Anonymous.

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