Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves risking money or something else of value for a chance to win a prize. This may include betting on a sports event, playing a casino game, or buying lottery tickets. It can also involve a more serious effort such as learning to play poker, which requires a significant amount of study and practice. In any case, gambling can be an enjoyable activity for people who are able to control their impulses and make sound financial decisions.
Problem gambling can negatively affect a person’s health, their relationships and work performance, and can lead to debt and even homelessness. It can be hard to know when someone has a problem and it is important to get help and support. If you think you or a friend has a gambling problem, talk to a counsellor – it’s free and confidential.
There are several different approaches to studying gambling impacts, including an economic cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and a public health perspective. However, a common methodological framework is lacking. Currently, most studies of gambling impacts use the CBA approach to estimate costs and benefits, ignoring social costs, which are not readily quantifiable. As explained by Williams et al,  and Walker and Barnett, social costs are defined as those that aggregate societal real wealth (that is, cause harm to some members of society while benefiting others) and are not personal in nature.