Gambling is like Marmite – some people love it, while others despise it. Whether it should be legal or not, there’s no denying that gambling is something that will continue regardless of whether it’s regulated. If you try to ban it, people will find other ways to gamble – mobsters will be only too happy to accommodate them.
Despite the negative connotations associated with gambling, it has also been shown to have positive effects, ranging from improving mental health and sharpening mathematical skills to encouraging social interaction and learning how to read body language. Moreover, it has been proven that certain games like blackjack and poker can enhance a person’s intelligence by teaching them how to strategize and improve their decision making abilities.
However, research on the negative impacts of gambling is limited and mostly focuses on economic losses. In order to capture a more comprehensive picture, it’s vital to examine the intangible harms that gambling can cause and to take a public health approach that takes into account quality of life measures such as disability weights.
To reduce the risk of developing a gambling disorder, it’s important to only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and to set both time and money limits for yourself. Moreover, it’s important to seek help if you feel that your gambling is out of control, especially if it’s starting to affect your relationships with family and friends.