Gambling is an activity where participants place a bet on the outcome of an event. This could be betting on a football team to win, or purchasing a scratchcard. The bet is matched against ‘odds’ set by the betting company, such as 5/1 or 2/1, which determine how much money you could win. However, the result of any event is ultimately determined by luck and chance.
Gamblers often feel rewarded when they win, as the brain releases dopamine to mark positive events. This is similar to the way your body responds to spending time with loved ones, or eating a delicious meal. However, when gambling becomes problematic, it is no longer a form of entertainment. The short term relief from boredom or stress is offset by increasing losses and the feeling of being out of control.
In the long term, gambling creates social costs that impact on society/community. Problem gamblers can suffer from debt and bankruptcy, and may become homeless or reliant on the state for support . The introduction of gambling also impacts business and recreational/amusement sectors, with workers being recruited for these industries – but at a cost to existing jobs .
If you are worried about someone who is displaying signs of gambling disorder, seek professional help. Talking therapy can provide a safe space to discuss the issue, without judgement. Family therapy can also be helpful in supporting your loved one to change their behaviour. Get matched with a qualified, licensed and vetted therapist in as little as 48 hours.