Gambling Harms – A Conceptual Framework

Gambling is an activity in which people stake something of value, such as money or valuables, on a random event with the hope of winning a prize. A prize may be anything from a modest amount of money to a life-changing jackpot. People gamble in casinos, at sporting events, and even online. Although it is an enjoyable pastime for many, gambling can lead to serious financial and personal problems for those who become addicted. If you have a problem with gambling, seek help immediately. You can find the support you need to stop gambling and start living a healthy life again.

Research has shown that gambling can be addictive and that it is important to know the signs of addiction so you can seek help before things get out of hand. If you’re unsure whether you have a problem, consider these symptoms of addiction:

In addition to the psychological and emotional effects of gambling, there are practical and physical consequences as well. Gambling can cause health issues such as heart disease, lung disorders, high blood pressure, and depression. It can also lead to financial loss, debt, and strained or broken relationships. The good news is that there are steps you can take to overcome a gambling addiction. You can get the help you need by visiting a specialist treatment facility, like a rehab or an inpatient program.

Harms associated with gambling are common and the potential for harm increases when a person gambles frequently, with greater amounts of money, and is exposed to advertising or other external influences. There is consensus amongst those working in gambling related fields that harm minimisation should be a key goal. However, it is difficult to achieve this without a clear definition of harm and an understanding of the breadth of experiences and sources of harm.

This report uses a qualitative approach, with both focus groups and semi-structured interviews conducted on a one-to-one basis with participants who identified as a person who gambles or as an affected other. These participants were recruited through social media and were compensated with store vouchers for their time.

Inductive analysis was used to generate themes based on the data. These were linked to existing theories and the resulting conceptual framework demonstrates that there are multiple levels of experience (harms at a person who gambles, affected others, or broader community).

The research has highlighted a number of important themes in terms of the experiences of harm related to gambling. These include the need to recognise the complexity of a definition of harm that distinguishes it from other categories of harm, such as clinical diagnosis or risk factors. It is also necessary to understand the breadth of experiences of harm, the subjectivity of what people deem harmful and its interrelationship with other comorbidities. The final outcome of this work is a conceptual framework that links discrete concepts and provides a starting point for theory development. This will facilitate an ongoing dialogue about harm minimisation in gambling and a discussion of how this might be achieved.