Harms of Gambling

Most people can gamble without incident. Loss of money or financial harm is the gambling harm that first comes to mind when we think about the risks associated with gambling. Yet, as the Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines  report describes, there are other potential types of harm that can affect those who gamble. These harms are more likely to affect those who spend more, gamble more often or have other characteristics that put them at greater risk of gambling harms.

People who gamble can be at risk of the following categories of harm:

1. Financial harms
  • Erosion of savings
  • Filing for bankruptcy
Gambling Harms [poster]
2. Relationship conflicts
  • Neglect of relationship with significant other
  • Neglect of relationships with children, extended family and friends
  • Social isolation
3. Emotional or psychological distress
  • Feelings of guilt, loneliness and isolation
  • Distorted cognition
  • Suicidal behaviours
4. Health issues
  • Reduced levels of self-care
  • Increased consumption of alcohol
  • Use of illegal substances

Note : The most comprehensive and evidence-based description of harms related to gambling defines them as a decline in the health or wellbeing of any individual, family unit, community or population due to gambling. See Browne, M., Langham, E., Rawat, V., Greer, N., Li, E., Rose, J., Rockloff, M. … Best, T. (2016). Assessing gambling-related harm in Victoria: A public health perspective. Melbourne, Australia: Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.


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