The Positive Impacts of Gambling

The Positive Impacts of Gambling


Gambling is an activity in which a person bets something of value on the outcome of a random event. In order for a wager to be considered gambling, there are three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize. The act of gambling triggers a number of impacts on individuals, families, and communities. Some of these impacts are negative and some are positive. In the past, researchers have often overlooked the positive aspects of gambling and focused primarily on its negative impacts.

Many people begin to engage in problem gambling when they are looking for short-term relief from unpleasant emotions. These may include depression, boredom, grief or a desire to avoid thinking about the realities of their lives. In addition, some people become involved in gambling because it offers an exciting and novel way to socialize. Despite these attractions, gambling is not a healthy and effective way to relieve unpleasant feelings. Instead, it is recommended that people seek healthier and more productive ways to relax, including exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or learning relaxation techniques.

One of the most difficult aspects of addressing gambling addiction is that many people who gamble deny that they have a problem. Some of these individuals will even lie to their loved ones about their gambling habits. Fortunately, there are steps that family and friends can take to help their loved ones recognize the seriousness of their gambling behavior and get treatment.

The first step is to talk to the individual who is gambling. It is important to approach the conversation with a clear mind and a willingness to listen. It is also important to select a distraction-free location where you can have the conversation and make sure you have enough time to speak at length. If the person begins to get defensive, it is best to walk away and try again at a later time.

It is also helpful to understand that a person who has a gambling problem needs professional help. There are a number of therapies available, including psychodynamic therapy, which examines how unconscious processes influence behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing unhelpful thinking patterns, is another useful tool for dealing with gambling problems.

A third option is to take a public health approach to gambling. This involves examining the costs and benefits associated with gambling for all people, not just those classified as problematic gamblers. In this type of research, costs are viewed as a function of the totality of the gambling experience and can be measured on a community/society level as well as an individual level. Social impacts such as a decrease in quality of life and social cohesion are frequently omitted from economic costing studies. They are, however, recognized in a public health approach.