Gambling – Causes and Effects of Problem Gambling


Gambling is a form of entertainment in which people wager money or material valuables on a random event with the goal of winning something else of value. It can be done with money, marbles, collectible game pieces such as Pogs or Magic: The Gathering cards, and even in some cases, virtual items such as points in a video game.

Gambling can be fun and entertaining but, for some people, it can lead to addiction. It is important to understand why a person may become addicted to gambling so you can help them overcome their problem. There are many reasons why a person might gamble, including socializing, skill development and escape from boredom or stress.

The psychological causes of gambling problems are complex and vary from person to person. Biological factors such as a genetic predisposition to thrill-seeking behaviour and impulsivity, or differences in brain structures, can impact how a person processes reward information, controls their impulses and weighs risk. Psychological and social factors such as depression, boredom and an environment that encourages gambling can also contribute to problems.

At the individual level, the benefits of gambling are usually monetary, but can be non-monetary in the form of feelings of enjoyment, relaxation and skill improvement. At the community/societal level, the benefits are often monetary as well, but can include other non-monetary impacts such as personal and interpersonal costs, cost of problem gambling, and long-term costs. At the national/global level, gambling is a substantial economic activity that generates tax revenues which can be invested in community projects.