Gambling Harms – A Framework For Conceptualising Harm From Gambling
Gambling is an activity that involves risking something of value, such as money, for the chance to win more than you wagered. This can be done in many ways, including traditional casino games like poker and blackjack, online betting sites and social media gambling.
Despite the wide range of gambling options, there are some key common features across all forms of gambling: risks that are random and chance-based; the illusion of control; and the use of illusory feedback in order to reinforce positive behaviour. In some cases, people can become addicted to gambling and need help to stop.
The behavioural effects of gambling are known to affect the lives of people, families and communities. They can lead to negative consequences such as poor financial management, distorted beliefs and feelings of powerlessness. They can also lead to serious problems with relationships and physical health.
Harm from gambling is a global public health concern that needs to be addressed in ways that minimise the impact of gambling on people, families and communities. It is important to have a consistent definition of harm and an appropriate means of measuring harm.
There is a need for a coherent and comprehensive understanding of gambling related harms, both within the research and policy communities and in order to improve treatment for those with problem gambling. This is particularly relevant as gambling is becoming more accessible and accepted, and can be a problem for individuals who are at risk of developing a gambling disorder.
Developing an internationally agreed upon definition of gambling related harm is essential to ensure that a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of gambling on individuals, their families and communities can be developed and supported by public health and clinical researchers. Additionally, a consistent understanding of the breadth and experience of gambling related harms is required to identify areas of opportunity to develop and support better prevention and treatment for problem gamblers and those at risk of developing a gambling disorder.
Our framework for conceptualising gambling related harms emerged from the inductive analysis of data generated from a number of sources, including people who gambled, their family and friends, and the broader community. It was also informed by the consultation process with a range of experts in the field, which included a number of CALD groups and indigenous populations.
The initial framework identifies six different thematic classifications of harm: general harms, harms relating to relationships, emotional or psychological harms, impacts on the person’s health, harms on work, study or economic activities and criminal acts. Additional harms identified during the analysis relating to people with strong religious beliefs, CALD groups and indigenous populations were classified under a seventh category: cultural harms.
In addition to the six categories, we have labelled two distinct types of harm: ongoing harms and legacy harms. These categories are important to recognise because they represent harms that may continue to be experienced even if the person who gambles ceases to engage in gambling.
Gambling is an activity that involves risking something of value, such as money, for the chance to win more than you wagered. This can be done in many ways, including traditional casino games like poker and blackjack, online betting sites and social media gambling. Despite the wide range of gambling options, there are some key…