The impact of gambling is largely unknown, but can be observed at the personal, interpersonal, and societal level. The financial costs of gambling are measurable and are usually manifested as losses, increased revenue, or decreased productivity, while the social impacts result from changes in the value and well-being of society. These impacts can be short or long-term and impact the individual gambler or his or her family. For example, an individual may lose his or her job because of excessive gambling, but the social costs may be even larger, affecting family members, friends, and the community as a whole.

While gambling can be a novel experience or a fun social outing, it can also quickly become a serious addiction. Without the consumer’s knowledge, gambling can become more important, increasing the amount of stress and financial strain. Understanding why and how to cope with your gambling behavior is an essential step in addressing the underlying cause. Gambling counselling and other support services are available to individuals and their families. So, if you’re experiencing problem gambling, don’t wait any longer. Get help today!

In the short-term, your first step in addressing the problem is to strengthen your support system. Talk to your family and friends about your problem. Enroll in educational classes or volunteer for a worthy cause. You can also attend a peer support group such as Gambling Anonymous. It is a 12-step program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. The program requires that the individual be assigned a “sponsor” – a former gambler who has been through the same recovery process.