What is Gambling Harm?
‘Gambling harm’ is a negative consequence which affects a person as a direct result of their gambling activity. Gambling harm includes, but is not limited to, addiction, emotional and physical ill health, and debt and financial difficulty. Gambling harm can affect players directly, but can also impact badly on their wider network of family, friends and work relationships. Licensed and regulated gambling operators have a responsibility to protect their players and reduce gambling harm.
Gambling Harm Explained
Gambling harm is the collective group of risks which can affect gamblers negatively when they play in an irresponsible way. There are lots of ways that gambling can be harmful, and that harm can extend beyond players into their families and their social and professional relationships. Gambling can also have a harmful effect on the communities it takes place in, and gambling can be harmful to a whole nation of people if it is not managed correctly.
Gambling harm can be financial. Players with a gambling problem lose more than they can afford when they play, or spend huge sums on betting. This can lead to further harm, such as debt, poverty and even criminal behavior. Gambling harm also manifests as emotional or mental issues, and even physical symptoms. An out of control gambler might cause harm to those around them, as well as to themselves.
Gambling operators have a responsibility to reduce gambling harm as much as possible, and to make sure players are educated about the risks of gaming too much. Any licensed operator should comply with the terms of their local or national gambling regulator at all times, and this will include having some form of responsible gambling policy.
Operators should have some form of self-exclusion scheme that allows players experiencing gambling harm to opt out of all gaming, and they should provide links to services that help problem gamblers – or their own support service for players.
Anyone who thinks they, or someone they know, is experiencing gambling harm should contact their local gambling advice service.