Gambling is when people risk money or something of value in order to win a prize. This includes games like scratchcards, fruit machines and betting with friends. It also encompasses activities such as poker tournaments and sports league betting. While most people gamble responsibly and find the experience rewarding, some people can become addicted to gambling. This can lead to problems with work, family and mental health.
One of the biggest problems with gambling is that it tricks the brain into thinking that the chances of winning are larger than they actually are. This is because our brains are programmed to seek rewards. When we spend time with loved ones, eat a good meal or gamble responsibly, our brains release the feel-good chemical dopamine. This makes us want to repeat the activity that led to those positive feelings.
The other problem is that once a person starts gambling, they can quickly build up a tolerance to it. They may still enjoy it, but not as much as they did in the beginning. It is a similar process to developing a tolerance to drugs or alcohol.
Another issue with gambling is that it creates costs and benefits that affect people who don’t gamble themselves. These are known as social impacts. These are harder to measure than economic costs or benefits and for this reason have been overlooked by researchers. This article reviews complementing and contrasting views on the social impact of gambling and offers a conceptual model that could be used as a basis for a common methodology to assess the social impacts of this addictive behaviour.