Gambling is a love/hate activity that divides opinion not least amongst governments. Some think it should be banned, others feel that as long as it’s regulated it can be beneficial to the economy. No matter where you stand on the issue there’s no denying that gambling is a huge business. Some people even make a living out of it!
In general, gambling involves placing a bet on the outcome of an event. This could be a football match, a lottery or a scratchcard. The amount of money you can win is determined by the ‘odds’ – which are set by the betting company. For example, a football team might be priced at 5/1 to win the match and you can place your bet accordingly.
It’s important to remember that gambling is a risky activity, regardless of whether it’s legal or not. People want to take risks and the uncertainty of winning/losing is what makes it so appealing. In fact, some of the earliest evidence of human gambling was found in China, where tiles were unearthed which appeared to be used to play a form of lottery-type game.
Various studies have investigated the impacts of gambling. Most of these have focused on the economic costs and benefits, which are relatively easy to quantify. However, the social and community/society level impacts are less well understood. This is probably due to the difficulty in putting a monetary value on something that is clearly not monetary, such as a gambler’s pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Problem gambling is known to affect a person’s work, home and social life. It is also known to cause depression, substance abuse and health problems. The good news is that help is available. Counselling and rehabilitation programs can provide the tools needed to overcome addiction.
For someone who is struggling with a gambling addiction it’s crucial to reach out for support. There are plenty of services that can offer support and advice, such as family therapy, marriage and career counselling and credit counseling. These can help resolve the issues caused by problematic gambling behaviour and lay the foundation for a healthier lifestyle.
Often, gambling is used as a way to soothe unpleasant emotions or relieve boredom. It’s important to learn healthier ways to do this, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques. It’s also important to avoid gambling while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, as this can increase the risk of gambling-related problems. It is estimated that one problem gambler negatively affects up to seven other people, including family members and work colleagues. By learning healthy coping mechanisms, you can create a healthier and happier lifestyle.