The Positive and Negative Effects of Gambling
Gambling involves risking money or anything of value on an event involving some element of chance, such as a football match or scratchcard. If you predict the outcome of the event correctly, you win money. If you lose, you forfeit the money or other item of value. Some people gamble for social reasons, such as going to a casino with friends or betting with them on horse races and football accumulators. Others may be driven by a desire to become rich or to change their lives for the better, or by their own curiosity about what they would do with a large sum of money.
Gamblers may also feel a rush or ‘high’ when they win, especially if they have made the correct prediction. This feeling is a consequence of the release of dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with reward and pleasure. Nevertheless, a dopamine rush is not a sustainable way to get ‘high’, and gambling is a poor choice for relieving boredom or stress. Other healthier ways of dealing with unpleasant emotions include exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques.
While many people can enjoy gambling, it can be addictive and can have negative impacts on personal, interpersonal and society/community levels. These impacts can be either individual or external, and they vary in severity. A focus on only problem gambling is common in economic costing studies, which can obscure the positive effects of gambling and underestimate its costs to society.