Breaking the Gambling Cycle

Gambling happens when people stake something of value (such as money) on a game of chance or skill with the promise of gaining more than they lose. It is most often seen at casinos, racetracks and other gambling establishments but can also be done at home or even online.

When a person wins money, their brain produces dopamine which gives them pleasure and reinforces their behavior. This is why many people continue to gamble even after they have a bad run, believing that the next time will be their lucky one. This cycle can become unsustainable and a problem, but there are ways to break free.

It is important to understand that gambling can have both positive and negative impacts on society. Positive effects include increased tax revenues, tourism, consumer benefits, economic growth and charitable support. Negative effects can involve addiction, debt and societal costs such as joblessness and poverty. These impacts can be structuralised using a model whereby benefits and costs are categorized into three classes – financial, labor and health and well-being.

Individual and family support are key factors in breaking the cycle of gambling. It is important to talk openly with loved ones and recognise that their behaviour is often a form of escape or relief from everyday stressors, rather than being an intentional choice to cause harm. This understanding can help you to better understand your loved ones and their motivations. It can also make it easier to accept their mistakes, even when they are financially irresponsible or have strained or broken relationships with you.