Gambling is the act of wagering money or something else of value on a chance event, such as a game of chance or a sports bet. The outcome of the bet is uncertain, and the risk that you lose the amount you wager is significant. In some cases, gambling can become an obsession and interfere with work or social life.
People gamble for many different reasons, such as to escape boredom, socialize with friends or family, or to relieve unpleasant feelings. However, when this occurs in an unhealthy way or for long periods of time, it can lead to addiction or problem gambling.
Compulsive gambling is an uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the negative consequences it has on your life, including your health and finances. It can interfere with your ability to function at work and school, cause debt and damage your relationships. It can also be a sign of depression or other mental health issues.
It can be hard to avoid temptation and relapse, but it is possible to recover from gambling addiction or problem gambling if you make an effort to surround yourself with others who are accountable, avoid tempting environments and websites, give up control of your finances, and find healthier activities to replace gambling in your life.
There are a number of organisations that provide assistance and support to people who have problems with gambling. Some aim to help you control your behaviour, while others help you abstain entirely.
Harm minimisation is a core principle of gambling policy and research in terms of prevention and treatment of problems with gambling. While the concept is intuitive, there are no international agreed-upon definitions of harm and most current gambling policy and research uses inadequate proxy measures of harm, such as problem gambling symptomology.
Creating an internationally agreed-upon definition of gambling related harm is critical in developing evidence-based approaches to prevent, identify and treat gambling related harms. It also provides a basis for comparison between studies that aim to measure gambling related harms.
In order to achieve this, a functional definition of gambling related harm was developed that could be operationalised as a tool for measuring gambling related harms in a manner consistent with standard epidemiological protocols used in public health. The definition sought to capture the breadth of how harms can be experienced for the person who gambles, affected others and their communities.
The conceptual framework of gambling related harm was developed through a series of conversations between researchers, clinicians, policy makers and affected individuals. This framework aimed to capture the breadth of experiences of harms and the complexity of the inter-relationships between these experiences.
This approach drew on the social model of health and the experience of harms as they manifested for people who gambled, those who impacted them, and their communities. The conceptual framework was compared with the existing literature on gambling related harms and data collected from a range of sources.
The conceptual framework was designed to capture the complex relationship between gambling and harms by identifying both temporal and spatial categories in the experience of harms. This is important as it demonstrates how harms may occur across multiple domains of people’s lives, and the importance of considering the impact that gambling has on other areas of their life.