Gambling Related Harms


Gambling is the act of wagering something of value (often money) on an event with an uncertain outcome with the intention of winning something else of value. It requires three elements: consideration, risk and a prize.

People gamble for many different reasons. Some gamble to relax, while others gamble for a chance to win big amounts of money. Whatever the reason, gambling can be an addictive activity that can lead to financial problems and serious health complications.

Problem gambling is a serious mental health disorder that can cause significant harm and interfere with everyday life. It can result in debt, strained relationships, poor performance at work or study and even lead to suicide.

The prevalence of problem gambling in the UK is high, with Public Health England estimating that 400,000 people are affected by gambling each year. This means that there is a significant opportunity for interventions to reduce the negative impact of gambling on those who participate in it.

Harms associated with gambling are an important part of the understanding and management of problem gambling, but they are often under-represented in the research and prevention literature. This is due to a number of factors, including the under-developed measurement of gambling related harms. This paper contributes a conceptual framework of gambling related harm as well as a taxonomy to facilitate the development of more appropriate measures.

Defining gambling related harm

Gambling is defined as the wagering of something of value on a random event with the intent to win something else of value. It requires three elements: a consideration, risk and a prize.

Traditionally, gambling involves risks of money or belongings, with the objective of winning a large amount of money. But it can also involve playing a game of skill, or betting on the future outcomes of sporting events. It can be done in a wide range of settings, from casinos to gas stations and church halls.

In recent years, technological advances have made it easier to gamble online and by telephone. This has enabled a wider variety of gambling activities, allowing people to wager on anything from sports to business and stock markets.

The definition of gambling-related harm is a complex and challenging one. It must be interpreted against the backdrop of a public health approach and a social model of health, as well as in relation to the complexity of factors that drive the phenomenon.

It is therefore imperative that a clear and comprehensive definition of gambling-related harm is developed. This will enable more accurate and targeted interventions to be put in place.

A functional definition of gambling-related harm can be operationalised and measured in accordance with standard public health approaches to measuring health outcomes, whilst also ensuring that the influence of comorbidities is included within the measurement process.

To achieve these objectives, a number of methods were used to gather information about gambling related harms. This included a literature review, focus groups and interviews with professionals involved in the support and treatment of gambling problems, as well as interviews with people who gambled and their affected others.