Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event with the intent to win a prize. It can include games like the lottery, horse races, card games, dice, slot machines, bingo, scratch-off tickets and sports betting. It has both positive and negative impacts on society, and it is important to gamble responsibly.

Having an unhealthy relationship with gambling can negatively impact a person’s mental health and financial stability. It’s also a common trigger for suicide attempts and exacerbates existing mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. If you or a loved one are struggling with gambling addiction, you should seek help immediately.

The popularity of gambling has triggered social, ethical and legal questions. Advocates claim that the activity attracts tourism and stimulates economic development, while opponents point to the high costs of comorbid psychiatric disorders associated with it. There are also the social ills caused by problem gambling, including unemployment and crime.

Many studies of gambling’s social impacts have viewed them through an economic lens, concentrating on cost and benefit estimates that are easily quantifiable. Using a public health approach, however, might better reveal gambling’s intangible harms. These can be assessed through health-related quality of life (HRQL) weights, or disability weights, which measure the burden of a condition on a person’s well-being. Using this methodology may uncover gambling harms that are not monetary in nature, such as social stigma or family relationships. This could help inform gambling policies and interventions.