Addiction: Negative impact of betting, gambling

Negative impact of Betting, Gambling
By Tochi Juliet

When we talk about betting or gambling, it may become confusing for some, what exactly is betting or gambling.

According to the dictionary meaning, Gambling is an activity characterised by a balance between winning and losing governed by a mixture of skill and chance, usually with money wagered on the outcome.

Betting is sometimes used interchangeably with gambling but both terms slightly differ. Betting can be said to be a form of gambling.

The main difference between the two is that betting is an agreement between two parties where one party predicts something and wins or loses based on the basis of what he predicted while gambling is a generic term that involves wagering on particular outcomes without any basis on the outcomes of the events.

Gambling has taken place for hundreds, if not thousands of years and is inextricably linked to humanity's history.

From ancient China where indications of rudimentary games of chance were discovered on tiles to Egypt where the oldest known dice were excavated to scenes on Greek and Roman pottery which indicate that betting on animal fights was common and animals would be bred for that sole purpose, it shows humans love to gamble and do so at every opportunity.

Gambling has grown from gambling on animals, to money, and now it is practised in a sophisticated way as we are in a digital age. Online gambling has taken over the 21st century.

There is a saying that, "That which has an advantage has a disadvantage". In as much as gambling might be beneficial for some people, its negative impacts cannot be overemphasized.

Negative impacts of gambling include:

  1. Addiction
  2. Financial constraint
  3. Relationship destruction


Just like drugs and hard drinks, addiction is also very rampant with gambling and betting. A gambling addiction occurs when a person continues to gamble or bet despite negative effects that may have impacted their finances, relationships, or well-being.

Gambling addiction involves compulsions to seek out gambling, betting, and wagering, and the result can be devastating for the gambler and his or her family.

Just like every other addiction that deals with our psyche and leads to mental challenge, gambling too is often associated with mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, gamblers are more likely than others to suffer from low self-esteem, develop stress-related disorders, become anxious, have poor sleep and appetite, develop a substance misuse problem, and suffer depression.
Although many people gamble to escape feelings of depression or other mental health problems, gambling can worsen these conditions.

One reason gambling and betting can affect mental health is that people experience ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ when gambling.

If you gamble a lot yourself, you may have found the experience of anticipating ‘the big win’ to be very mentally involving and extremely exciting, perhaps better than feelings created by any other activity.

You may also have found the devastation of losing to be a massive low, leading to feelings of despair. Gambling addictions pose lots of threat to the individual and also the family. The person's mental health could be affected.

Gambling is now practiced in a sophisticated way with digital equipment.

Financial Constraints

When gambling becomes uncontrollable, the gambler will not know when to quit, and as such, he will spend even more money attempting and usually failing, to win back their losses.

Gamblers always feel that in every game, they will win and once they lose, they will want to make up for their lost, thereby opting for more games which will eventually suck them dry.

When this happens, the gambler is at the mercy of his debtors as many persons who engage in gambling, especially those addicted to it always incur debt.

People with a gambling addiction will go to extreme measures to get money to gamble. Some people eventually resort to stealing, taking out large loans, or other desperate means out-of-character.

Gamblers are always short of money, despite adequate income. Many cannot provide basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, while—many resort to borrowing money from friends, family or coworkers which will never be paid.

Many gamblers believe that money is the cause of, and the solution to their problems, so they continue to gamble despite the losses, believing they can fix all the problems with just one more ‘big win’.

Sadly, there can never be a big enough ‘win’ to solve the addiction problem.

Gambling too is often associated with mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Destroys your relationship with family and friends

Gambling and betting have a huge devastating impact on gamblers' relationship with other people, friends, and families.

This can take various forms. It can drastically affect one's relationship with his/her partner. The partners may experience frequent quarrels and argument, especially over the family budget and finances.

Instead of spending time with partners and their family, or fulfilling commitments, gamblers may choose to spend their leisure time gambling.

This can lead a partner or family member to worry that the gambler does not care about them anymore or is somehow less important.

This can lead to emotional distance or tension in the relationship. However, because the gambler is often so tied up with the gambling behaviour, he/she will hardly think about anyone else.

In some cases, this eventually leads to separation, divorce.

A gambler may equally not have time for his friends as he tends to invest all his time and, money in the gambling business. This can create a bridge between friendship, and no one will prefer to be the best friend to a gambler.

The negative impact of gambling and betting outweighs its positive impact. Gambling will most likely destroy everything one holds dear.

It is advised that once one is addicted to gambling, a drastic measure such as therapy should be taken to pull the individual out.

A stitch in time saves nine and "prevention", they say, "is better than cure". Quitting gambling before it gets to the stage of therapy is the best idea; however, once the individual has been addicted to it, therapy becomes the only required option.

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