Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event, where instances of strategy are discounted. It can take the form of any game in which people stake money for the chance to win a prize, and this includes all forms of lottery and betting on sports events, horse races or even football games. People can gamble in a variety of places, including casinos, racetracks, arcades and even online.

It is widely accepted that gambling can cause harm, and that this harm is likely to increase with frequency of gambling and with greater stakes. However, it is less well understood that this harm is not only experienced by the person who engages in gambling behaviour, but also by others within the broader community.

To address this gap, the research team used semi-structured interviews to identify and discuss experiences of gambling related harm in a range of settings. Interviews were conducted with a total of 29 participants who identified as either: a person who gambles, affected others or both. Interviews were recorded in person or over the phone and averaged between 30-40 minutes in length.

Using longitudinal data allowed researchers to analyse patterns of gambling behaviour over time, and to identify the factors that moderate or exacerbate harm. This approach is consistent with both a public health and a social model of health, and recognises the complex relationships between factors that drive gambling related harm, rather than focussing on simplistic causal pathways.