Gambling 101



Gambling is a form of risk-taking that involves placing a bet on the outcome of a game or event involving chance. People can gamble in casinos, racetracks, at sporting events and on the internet. It is important to know what Gambling is, how it works and the risks involved.

The benefits and costs of gambling occur at the personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels (Fig. 1). Individual level benefits include income and enjoyment of the activity. Interpersonal level benefits are related to relationships and affect those close to a gambler, such as family members and friends. Societal/community level benefits include gambling revenues, tourism and economic growth. Other benefits include employment opportunities and cost savings for the community. Disadvantages of gambling include increases in debt, financial strain and loss of income. It can also cause addiction, which leads to family breakdown, bankruptcy and homelessness.

It is important to understand the underlying factors that can make gambling addictive. For example, people can be motivated to gamble for social reasons, such as hanging out with friends or thinking about what they would do if they won the lottery. Others are driven by money and want to win a large sum of money, such as a jackpot. Some may have a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or depression, that can cause them to gamble.

If you are going to a casino, always take a set amount of cash that you are prepared to lose and do not go over it. Don’t be tempted by free cocktails, and remember that dealers are working for tips. They are usually not paid enough by the casino. You can tip them by handing them a chip and clearly saying “This is for you,” or by placing a bet for them.