The Different Perspectives on Gambling


Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event with uncertain outcome where the gambler hopes to win something else of value. It can be done for fun, for recreation or as a means of escape. Some people can become addicted to gambling. This can impact their personal, professional and social life negatively. It can lead to debt and even homelessness. It has also been linked to mental health issues and moral turpitude. There are many different perspectives on gambling, from research scientists, psychiatrists and other treatment care clinicians to public policy makers. These views vary due to disciplinary training, experience and worldview.

For some people, gambling is a form of entertainment where they can meet friends and socialise. It is often portrayed in the media as sexy, glamorous and fashionable. This can be appealing to younger generations. For those with low incomes, it can provide an outlet for their spending. However, it can be difficult to find other forms of entertainment that do not require money.

Some people are more prone to developing gambling problems than others. This can be due to genetic factors, past experiences with drugs and alcohol, poor mental health, a lack of education or other factors. Those with a family history of gambling addiction are also more likely to be affected.

Research has shown that gambling can trigger the same reward system in the brain as consuming cocaine or other drugs. It is important to understand the role of these triggers when trying to help a person struggling with gambling addiction.

It is not just the gambler who is impacted by gambling, it affects the surrounding community as well. Problem gambling can lead to financial difficulties which can affect their ability to perform at work and study, cause strained relationships with their family and friends, harm their physical and emotional wellbeing and leave them homeless. These effects can have lasting consequences for a person’s quality of life, which may pass down through the generations.

It is therefore important to look at gambling impacts at the individual, interpersonal and community/society level. This will enable researchers to gain a fuller understanding of the impacts. For example, monetary impacts can be measured using a cost of illness approach which is common in drug abuse research, but it is also necessary to measure the benefits of gambling (e.g., pleasure). It is therefore essential to develop a nomenclature for these different perspectives on gambling. This can help to avoid a siloed approach which limits research on this topic.