Gambling Harms


Gambling is when you risk money or something of value to predict the outcome of a game involving chance, such as scratchcards, fruit machines, or betting with friends. If you predict the right outcome, you win, and if you miss, you lose.

Harm occurs when there are negative consequences of gambling behaviour that lead to harm for the person who gambles, and/or affect others or the broader community.

The definition is important because it differentiates gambling harm from other forms of harmful behaviour that may have similar effects on the person who gambles and/or the wider community, for example, alcohol and drug related harms [1]. It also separates harm from symptomology which can be used to identify problem gambling.

Understanding gambling harms is important as they can have an impact on individual and family lives, and if they are not addressed, can lead to a range of negative outcomes such as relationship breakdown and financial problems.

Identifying and responding to gambling harms is challenging because of the complexity of the mechanisms that are at play. However, there are a number of strategies that can help you manage your gambling and reduce the harms it causes.

1. Strengthen your support network.

Getting support from family, friends or a support group can be very helpful in overcoming a gambling addiction. These groups can offer encouragement, guidance, and a sense of normalcy.

2. Change your behaviour around betting.

People with a gambling problem often have a different mindset to those who don’t, for example, believing they are more likely to win than they actually are, that certain rituals will bring them luck, or that they can win back losses by betting more. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for this type of addiction and can help you change your beliefs, behaviours and feelings about betting.