Gambling is a game of chance that involves risking something of value (such as money or items) in the hope of winning. It is a legal activity in some countries and a common pastime in others. It can be a source of excitement and fun, but it can also lead to serious financial problems.

Whether it is buying a Lotto ticket, placing bets on sports events or playing the pokies, gambling can be a socially acceptable way to have a flutter. But if you’re worried about your own or someone else’s gambling, it’s important to know what’s involved and how it can cause harm.

The research in this article used a combination of methodologies, including a literature review, focus groups and interviews with people who gamble or affected by others, and an analysis of public forum posts on gambling related harms. It was aimed at developing a comprehensive conceptual framework and catalogue of harms from gambling and a taxonomy to facilitate future research and clinical practice.

Problem gambling is a complex phenomenon that affects individuals, families and communities. It can be a difficult habit to break and if left unchecked it can have far-reaching effects. It’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of gambling problems so you can take action early. The most effective way to treat gambling problems is with a professional. If you have concerns about your own or someone else’s gambling, please speak to a counsellor, it’s free and confidential.