Gambling is a form of risk-taking where money or property is exchanged for the chance to win something. It can take many forms, from playing card games and board games for small amounts of money with friends to placing a wager on horse or dog races or football accumulators. Some people play professional sports or lottery games for a living, while others gamble as part of an enjoyable pastime or social activity.

While research shows that gambling can have positive effects if done responsibly, it also carries significant negative impacts on the health and well-being of those who engage in this activity. The literature demonstrates that there are a number of costs associated with gambling, including addiction, mental and physical disorders, and deteriorating relationships. In addition, some people who gamble may be at a higher risk of depression and stress, which can be triggered by or made worse by gambling.

In recent years, there have been a number of studies looking at the costs and benefits associated with gambling. These studies use various economic analysis techniques and monetary values to quantify the costs and benefits of gambling. However, it has been difficult to identify and measure the intangible benefits and costs of gambling, as they cannot be expressed in monetary terms.

These intangible costs and benefits can be at the personal, interpersonal and societal/community levels. They can be invisible to the gambler and include general, problem gambling and long-term costs. At the personal level, they can include financial strain and debt and the escalation of these problems into bankruptcy or homelessness. At the interpersonal level, they can include emotional distress and family conflicts, and at the societal/community level they can include negative social stigma and disapproval.