The Positive and Negative Effects of Gambling


Gambling is an activity in which people place bets on the outcome of a contest, game or event. It can be a fun and entertaining hobby in moderation, but it can also harm self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance and the community. In addition, a person with a gambling problem may be secretive about their behavior, lying to family and friends, increasing their wagers in an attempt to win back lost money and even stealing from employers to finance their gambling habit.

The negative effects of gambling are far-reaching and can include the deterioration of a person’s finances, personal and family relationships, employment, home life, mental and physical health, and sense of well being. In some cases, gambling can lead to a complete loss of control and even suicide. Many of the negative impacts of gambling stem from addiction to it and other related disorders. These can include impulsivity, denial of the problem, and failure to seek help (see article on Treatment of Gambling Addiction).

There are also some positive aspects to gambling such as socializing in a casino, learning skills, and increasing one’s awareness of patterns and numbers. However, these benefits are only experienced if it is done in moderation and only for the sake of entertainment and not as an escape from reality or an opportunity to profit. Some people are genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviors and impulsiveness and therefore cannot control their gambling behavior. Moreover, in some cultures, gambling is considered to be an important pastime and it can be difficult to identify a problem in these circumstances.