Gambling Harm


Gambling is the wagering of something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the intent to win something else of value. It requires three elements: consideration (amount wagered), risk (the chance of winning something of value) and a prize or reward.

The term ‘gambling’ covers a wide range of activities including sports betting, lotteries and online gambling. It also encompasses more complex and structured behavioural endeavours such as investment in new technology or commercial ventures.

It is an activity that can be enjoyable and even therapeutic for some people, but for others it can lead to serious problems such as deteriorating mental health or social relationships, financial issues and debt, and may affect home life or the law. Problem gambling is a form of behavioral addiction.

If you think someone you know might have a problem with gambling, you can find information on help available in your area at the Gambling Problems website. You can also contact the National Gambling Helpline if you’re worried about a loved one’s gambling habits and want to discuss options for support.

Self-help guides, tips and techniques are available on the website to help you identify signs of problem gambling and provide ways to stop it before it reaches an unhealthy level. This information is based on evidence and research from leading gambling agencies and will give you the best chance of stopping problem gambling for good.

Defining gambling harm

A harm is any initial or exacerbated adverse consequence of an engagement with gambling that results in a decrement to the health or wellbeing of an individual, family unit, community or population.

To develop a definition of gambling harm, it was important to understand how the harms are experienced by people who gambled and those who have been affected by gambling. Using focus groups and semi-structured interviews (n = 25), participants were asked to describe the types of harms they experienced. They were also asked to consider whether they were the first to experience gambling related harm and whether their level of involvement would predict greater levels of harm.

It was found that there were three levels of harm – the person who gambles, the person affected by gambling and the wider community. It was suggested that these levels could reflect a more complex interaction of broader social and environmental determinants and a person’s ability to manage their gambling.

Creating boundaries

If you’re concerned about a loved one’s gambling habits, you can help them set clear boundaries. This will make it easier for them to stay on track and to avoid relapse. It also helps to ensure that they don’t spend more money than they can afford to lose.

Choosing the right games and casino sites

It’s important to choose a casino that offers a range of different games and offers a safe environment for you or your loved one. It’s also a good idea to stick to a budget, as this will help you keep track of your spending and prevent any impulsive purchases.