Gambling is putting something of value, such as money, on an uncertain event. It’s an activity that involves taking a risk and hoping to gain something of value – it could be winning the lottery, placing a sports bet or buying a scratchcard. Whether you win or lose, gambling has costs and benefits. These impacts occur on a personal level for gamblers and on interpersonal and society/community levels.
Gamblers can experience negative social and emotional consequences as a result of their unhealthy behaviour, including:
Negative financial outcomes of gambling include increased debt and the inability to pay bills. Increasing debt can lead to homelessness and bankruptcy. Other negative effects of gambling include deterioration in family relationships, job performance and school grades. It can also lead to gambling addiction, which is recognised as a mental health disorder.
The first step to recovering from harmful gambling is making a commitment to change. It’s important to get support, such as from friends and family, and to recognise that you may need help with underlying issues like depression or anxiety. Make new friends who don’t gamble and go to activities that do not involve gambling, such as socialising at work or joining a gym. Try to avoid going out when you are depressed or upset as this can cause a relapse. Do not use credit or borrow to gamble and do not chase your losses. The more you spend trying to recoup your losses, the bigger your losses will be.