Gambling is the betting of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on an uncertain event whose outcome is determined by chance. It is estimated that gamblers wager more than $10 trillion a year worldwide. Gambling impacts can be observed at three levels: personal, interpersonal and society/community (Fig. 1). Personal impacts impact the gamblers themselves; interpersonal effects involve people who are close to the gambler (friends, family and work colleagues). Society/community impacts are those that concern others in addition to the gamblers.
A number of studies have been conducted on the benefits and costs of gambling, but longitudinal studies are difficult to conduct due to funding, sample attrition, measurement problems and a general lack of interest in this type of research. Despite these limitations, there is growing evidence that gambling can have positive social and economic consequences when it is done in a responsible manner and when players are aware of the risks involved.
Some individuals also claim that gambling helps to improve their intelligence, as it requires them to think ahead and plan strategies. In addition, many people enjoy gambling because it is a social activity and can help them meet new friends. The main disadvantage of gambling is that it can be addictive and lead to financial and health problems. In addition, it may exacerbate existing mood disorders like depression and anxiety. The best way to reduce the negative impact of gambling is to seek treatment. This may include family therapy and marriage, career and credit counseling. Medications may also be helpful in the treatment of gambling addiction.