Gambling is a leisure activity that involves risking money or items of value for the chance to win a prize. It can take place in casinos, online, and in private settings. It is a global industry and can be legal or illegal. Problem gambling, also known as compulsive gambling or pathological gambling, is an addictive behavior that can lead to serious personal and family problems.
The impacts of gambling can be structured in a cost-benefit model, where costs and benefits are categorized into three classes: financial, labor, and health and well-being. These impacts manifest at the personal, interpersonal, and community/society levels. They can have a temporary or long-term effect on the gambler’s life, and can be passed between generations.
Financial impacts include gambling revenues, taxes, and indirect spending on goods and services associated with the activity. Labor impacts are the changes in work outcomes that result from gambling, such as absenteeism, poor performance, and unemployment. Health and well-being impacts are the direct and indirect effects of gambling on physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.
Counseling can help people understand the risks of gambling and think about how it affects their lives. It can also teach them coping skills and help them consider options and solve problems. Many people who struggle with gambling are not able to overcome their addiction on their own. They may need the support of friends and family, and even peers who are recovering from gambling disorder. They can join a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows the twelve-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous.