A Functional Definition of Gambling Related Harm

Gambling is an activity that involves risk-taking, usually with the aim of winning more money or a prize. It is a common activity that can involve many different types of people, from young children to older adults and is often conducted in social environments, such as casinos or online gaming sites. In addition to its recreational value, gambling can also provide a source of income for some individuals and is an important source of revenue for many governments around the world.

While gambling can be a fun and exciting pastime, it is important to remember that any form of gambling is inherently risky. While some forms of gambling can be fun and enjoyable for many people, others may lead to negative impacts on their physical and mental health, relationships with family members and friends, work performance or study, and/or get them into serious debt and even homelessness.

A key component of gambling is the illusory feeling that the player has control over some uncontrollable outcome, for example a football match or scratchcard. This is a common feature of many games and is designed to create the feeling of a rewarding experience, and keep players playing for longer periods of time. This is accomplished by optimizing reward schedules to deliver the minimum amount of rewards over a given period of time that is sufficient to keep players engaged.

Gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry that has a wide range of risks for participants. Many countries have banned or heavily regulated gambling, but others are embracing it and providing significant government revenues through taxes and licence fees. There are also concerns that legalised gambling leads to problem gambling, and that it erodes public values such as trust and respect for authority.

A significant challenge in the field of gambling is developing a consistent definition of harm, a comprehensive understanding of the nature and extent of this harm, and appropriate methods for measuring it. Although several measures have been developed and used in the past, they have a number of limitations that limit their usefulness. [1]

The lack of a consistent and clear definition of gambling related harm has hampered the development of evidence based policy in this area, particularly in relation to achieving harm minimisation. This paper aims to develop a functional definition of gambling related harm which can be operationalised using standard epidemiological protocols for measuring harm in public health.

The process of deciding which bet to place starts with choosing the event you want to wager on. This could be a specific team or the total score of a game, and is then matched to odds that are set by the betting company. These odds are based on probabilities that vary from sport to sport, but are influenced by the same cognitive biases as those experienced by gamblers. These include the illusory correlation between previous outcomes and future ones (gambler’s fallacy) and the misperception that past results or events are more or less likely to occur than they actually are (hot streak).