Public Health and Gambling


Gambling is a risky activity in which people stake something valuable for the chance to win a larger sum of money. It can take place in casinos, racetracks, betting shops, church halls, at sporting events or even online. People gamble to change their moods, relieve stress and have a good time with friends. The most common way to gamble is by buying a lottery ticket or placing a bet on the horses, sports or a scratchcard.

Despite the widespread availability of gambling, many people have a hard time understanding its risks and benefits. Moreover, people who have a problem with gambling often feel ashamed to admit it. Thankfully, help is available. Talking to a professional counsellor can be beneficial for those struggling with a gambling addiction. Counselling can provide tools to overcome your gambling addiction and repair your relationship with family and friends. Counselling can also teach you to budget your money and recognise that gambling is an expense rather than a source of income.

While there are a number of different factors that influence the impact of gambling, some research suggests that a public health approach is needed to guide policy decisions. However, there are limitations in the current knowledge base about gambling, including gaps in research on personal/interpersonal and community/society level impacts. In particular, there is little research on the financial or labor costs to significant others of gamblers. This is an area of growing concern. This is an urgent need that should be addressed by new research and by filling gaps in existing literature.