The Negative Effects of Gambling

Gambling is a behavior that involves placing something of value at risk in the hope of gaining a return. It is an activity that has been present in virtually every society since prerecorded history and is currently a common form of entertainment in many countries and regions.

It has been found that gambling has a variety of negative impacts on the gambler, his/her significant others and the community at large. These impacts can be measured in both economic and social terms. While monetary values can be assigned to some of the negative effects of gambling, such as costs associated with treating problem gamblers and preventing problem gambling, it is more difficult to place a monetary value on social effects, such as the impact on family and other relationships.

While most individuals engage in gambling for enjoyment, a small group of people become too involved and suffer serious personal, family, and financial consequences. This is referred to as problematic gambling. Problematic gambling is characterized by an inability to control gambling behaviors and a perception that it has positive consequences.

If you have a gambling addiction, there are ways to overcome it. The first step is to strengthen your support network. This can be done by spending time with friends who don’t gamble, joining a book club or sports team, enrolling in a class, volunteering for a cause, or going to a meeting of the Gamblers Anonymous, which is a 12-step program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s also important to limit your access to money for gambling by removing credit cards, putting someone else in charge of your finances, and closing online betting accounts.