The Positive and Negative Impacts of Gambling


Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. It can be as simple as betting on a football team to win or buying a scratchcard. There are a number of positive impacts of gambling, as well as negative impacts. These impacts occur at personal, interpersonal and society/community levels. The personal impacts affect gamblers themselves, while the interpersonal and societal/community levels involve people who are not necessarily gamblers themselves.

The positive aspects of gambling include entertainment, relaxation and a feeling of accomplishment. However, it’s important to remember that gambling should be done responsibly. It’s easy for many people to walk away after playing a few rounds of poker or dropping a few coins in a slot machine, but some gamblers are not able to do so and become addicted. Some people may also find relief from unpleasant emotions through gambling, such as depression or anxiety. It is therefore important to seek help if these feelings are causing distress.

Another reason why gambling can be addictive is that it creates an expectation of reinforcement. When a person wins, they feel a rush of dopamine in their brain. This feeling is called ‘reward anticipation’, and it motivates the individual to continue gambling in order to experience that reward again.

In addition, gambling can lead to a sense of social belonging. It is common for people to gamble in groups, and this can be an effective way of relieving boredom and loneliness. It’s important to try and seek out alternative ways of relieving these emotions, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up a new hobby or practicing relaxation techniques.

The negative impacts of gambling include an increased risk of debt, loss of employment and health problems. It can also impact a person’s family and friends. In some cases, problem gambling can lead to suicide. It can also have long-term effects such as changes in a person’s life course and intergenerational transmission of the gambling disorder.

While gambling has its pros and cons, it is a part of our culture and it contributes to the economy of many countries. It is therefore important to understand the risks of gambling and take steps to reduce them. If you would like to learn more about protecting vulnerable adults, check out our Safeguarding Training courses.