Gambling is an activity where people risk something of value (money, possessions etc) in order to win. It has long been known that gambling can have both positive and negative impacts, not only on the gambler but also on their family, friends and community. However, most studies have ignored these social impacts and focused instead on monetary costs and benefits which are easily quantified. A public health approach is needed in order to better assess the social costs and benefits of gambling.

The first thing to remember when gambling is that it is a game of chance. Whether it is betting on a football team to win a match, or buying a scratchcard, the odds of winning are set by the betting company – and nobody knows for sure what the outcome will be.

Many people gamble because they enjoy the thrill of winning, and the rush that comes with it. But a significant number of them gamble excessively and end up accumulating debts that threaten their financial security. Some even find themselves in a position where they have to sell their possessions to pay off their debts. This is a serious problem and it is important to understand how gambling affects your mental health. This will help you to recognise the signs of an addiction. It will also give you a greater understanding of why your loved one may be gambling, and help you to avoid getting angry with them.