Gambling is an activity in which people risk something of value (usually money) on an event that involves some element of chance or randomness, and the outcome is determined to a significant degree by that chance or randomness. It can include any type of betting, such as football accumulators or horse racing; playing games such as poker, fruit machines or pokies; and speculating on business or financial markets. It also includes activities that involve a substantial investment of time, such as lottery participation and the use of the Internet to gamble.

Despite its prevalence, gambling is not always harmful and many people do not experience harm or problem gambling. However, if gambling causes problems for people it is important to seek help. There are a number of ways to do this, including talking to a trusted friend or family member, going to a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, and getting physical activity, which has been shown to reduce urges to gamble.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating gambling disorder, and each person will require a different treatment program. For example, some people may respond better to medication, while others will benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy. Gambling disorder is an addictive behaviour, and in order to overcome it, individuals will need to learn how to recognise triggers and take control of their gambling behaviour.

It is also essential for people to understand that gambling is an expensive form of entertainment and should be budgeted accordingly. If they spend more than they can afford to lose, they will most likely experience financial harm. In addition, the products designed to keep people gambling often have a high cost, which can also lead to harm.

In recent times, there has been a renewed focus on the definition of harm in relation to gambling. This is in part due to the recognition that it is important to focus on harms as outcomes, rather than on symptoms or a clinical diagnosis of problem gambling. This enables a more holistic perspective, and is consistent with the World Health Organisation’s definition of health.

The definition adopted by Neal et al [1] reflects this approach and provides a more sensitive and inclusive framework for the identification of harms arising from gambling. It includes all harms, from those experienced by the person engaging in gambling through to legacy and intergenerational harms. It also places a strong emphasis on the fact that harms are not caused solely by gambling, and that they can occur at any level of engagement.

To develop the proposed definition and conceptual framework, a multi-methods approach was used, including a literature review, focus groups with professionals involved in the support and treatment of gambling disorders, interviews with people who gamble and affected others, and analysis of public forum posts for those with gambling related issues. These processes highlighted the breadth of harms that can be attributed to gambling, and the complexity of identifying sources and relationships. This led to the development of a catalogue of harms and the taxonomy that is presented in this paper.