Gambling involves wagering something of value, such as money or other assets, on an event with an outcome determined at least partly by chance. In some cases, strategy can be used to increase the likelihood of winning. However, most gambling is purely random and there is no certainty of winning. This can lead to a number of negative effects.

While most people who gamble enjoy the fun and excitement of trying to win, there is a subset that develops an addiction. This is called problem gambling and it can cause a range of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It can also impact relationships and work performance. Problem gambling is especially common among low-income people and those who start to gamble at a young age.

There are a variety of reasons why people gamble, including the desire to socialize, unwind or relieve boredom. However, there are healthier ways to deal with unpleasant feelings like stress and boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques.

Research on the impacts of gambling has been done from a variety of perspectives, including an economic cost-benefit analysis and a public health approach. However, few studies have taken into account social costs or benefits that are not monetary, such as damage to the gambler’s family and community. Using health-related quality of life (HRQL) weights, which are similar to disability weights used in alcohol and drug research, may help to discover these social impacts.