Gambling is the risking of money or something of value with the aim of winning it back, often on a game or event which is random in nature. This can include playing games, betting on football accumulators, lottery tickets or betting on business or the stock market.
There are many reasons why people gamble, and it is important to understand why you do so in order to make sure that your decisions are responsible. It is also a good idea to make sure that you know what the odds are and how much money you could win or lose if you bet on a particular event.
How gambling works
The brain is programmed to reward certain behaviours – for example, when you bet the right amount of money on a slot machine it triggers a rush of dopamine. When gambling gets too addictive this reward schedule is changed so that the person has to take bigger and bigger risks in order to feel the same high.
A gambling addiction can be treated effectively by cognitive-behaviour therapy which teaches people to resist their unwanted thoughts and habits. It can help them develop a positive outlook and learn to think in new ways.
How gambling affects bankruptcy
In the United States, published news accounts and bankruptcy court opinions have highlighted the relationship between gambling and bankruptcies, but these accounts are generally region-specific and anecdotal. They do not provide evidence that the additional debts incurred by pathological gamblers are real costs to society or represent transfers of cost from one problem category to another (Gramlich, 1990).
Although economic impact analysis studies have made advances in identifying and quantifying the costs associated with gambling, these have tended to focus on gross effects. These studies are often based on earlier work and therefore fail to provide an accurate assessment of the net benefits and costs of gambling.