Gambling is any activity in which money or something else of value is put at risk with the hope of winning a prize. This can be done in many ways, including playing casino games and betting on sports events. It can also include buying lottery tickets and scratchcards. Regardless of the type of gambling, it is an activity that can lead to addiction if not controlled. While there are some risks associated with gambling, it can be beneficial when done responsibly and within one’s means. It can also provide a social outlet for people who enjoy it.
The most common reasons for gambling are the prospect of becoming wealthy, the desire to take risks, and the chance to meet other like-minded people. People may also be influenced by the desire to escape from daily stresses, and this is especially true for problem gamblers.
In addition to causing harm to the gambler, gambling can have costs and benefits that affect others. These impacts can be at the personal, interpersonal and community/society levels (Fig. 1).
Most studies on gambling have examined negative or harmful effects, but few have focused on positive impacts. This is partly because studies examining gambling have often ignored social factors and have focused only on problematic gamblers. However, a health-related quality of life weight approach that considers gamblers’ relationships to their significant others, as well as the impact of gambling on society, can be useful for identifying both positive and negative impacts.