Understanding the Risks of Gambling

Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event that is random and uncertain, for example, the outcome of a lottery ticket or a casino game. While for some people gambling may be fun and exciting, for others it can lead to serious harm. Problem gambling can damage mental and physical health, relationships, performance at work or study and cause debt and homelessness. It can also affect family, friends and communities. Problem gambling can lead to suicide.

It is estimated that over half of the UK population takes part in some form of gambling, including betting on sports and games, playing games such as roulette, online casinos, arcades, scratch-offs and poker, and bingo. While the risk of gambling problems varies from person to person, research shows that it is associated with various socio-cultural constructs such as rituals, mateship, winning and success, social status, and thrill and adventure. [1] These constructs lend themselves to a practice theory framework, which is a useful approach for studying gambling given its complexity and the multi-faceted ways in which it is framed by neoliberalism, globalisation, markets, and liberalisation.

Gambling can cause a variety of issues for individuals, including anxiety and depression. Using self-help strategies and seeking professional help is important for overcoming this behavior. For students, this can include a CAPS screening and accessing resources such as support groups, financial aid assistance, or academic advising help. It can also be beneficial to learn healthier ways of relieving unpleasant feelings, such as exercising or spending time with supportive family members and friends who do not gamble.