Gambling – A Functional Definition and Taxonomy of Gambling Related Harm


Gambling involves a risk-taking activity where the outcome is uncertain. It can be conducted legally or illegally, and may involve money, goods, services, or other values. There are a number of different ways that people gamble, including: betting on sports events (e.g. football matches), lottery draws, and playing casino games. Gambling can also be done with other objects that have a value, such as marbles or items from the game Magic: The Gathering. In addition, some games of chance are not based on a financial stake, but instead on the outcome of a contest or battle between two or more individuals.

While gambling can be fun, some people find it difficult to control their behaviour and end up causing themselves harm. The first step to overcoming a gambling addiction is realising that you have a problem. Then you can seek professional help to overcome it and rebuild your life.

A problem with gambling can impact all aspects of your life, including relationships and work. It can also lead to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. It is therefore important to seek treatment from a qualified mental health practitioner, such as a psychologist or counsellor. You can also try cognitive behavioural therapy, which will look at your beliefs around gambling and how they affect your behaviour.

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your gambling risk, such as setting time and money limits. However, it’s hard to break a gambling habit, so you might need some support from family and friends. You can also join a gambling recovery program, such as Gamblers Anonymous. These programs follow a similar model to Alcoholics Anonymous and can give you the tools you need to overcome your problem.

The aim of this paper is to develop a functional definition and taxonomy of gambling related harm that is grounded in a public health approach, allowing for its operationalisation and future measurement consistent with standard epidemiological approaches to measuring health outcomes. In particular, the proposed framework and taxonomy allow for the recognition that gambling harms are rarely experienced in isolation and are often exacerbated by other factors such as comorbidities.

During the focus group and interview phase of this study, participants who identified as either people who gamble or affected others were asked to identify instances of harm experienced by themselves, or others, as a result of gambling. These identified harms were then categorised into three levels of severity.

The first level of harm identified was the erosion of savings and financial resources, leading to a reduced capacity to spend on non-essential discretionary items. In some cases, this was accompanied by a loss of capacity to spend on activities such as family outings and involvement in artistic, cultural, social or sporting activities. In these cases, the choice to gamble was not a rational choice but rather a process of automaticity for the person who gambled. This category of harm also referred to legacy harms that had accumulated in the past.