Gambling is an activity that involves placing bets on events with a random outcome. While most people can walk away after playing a few rounds of poker or putting a few coins in a slot machine, there are those who become addicted to gambling. This addiction can impact their physical health and mental wellbeing, relationships with friends and family, performance at work or studies, finances and can even lead to homelessness.

However, many argue that there are also positive side effects of gambling. Firstly, it can bring individuals together in a social setting and provide entertainment. Secondly, gambling can stimulate local economies by attracting tourists and increasing revenue for businesses. This can help to create jobs and reduce the need for public services in an area.

Furthermore, some individuals find gambling therapeutic because it helps them to relieve stress and anxiety. In particular, gambling games that require strategy (such as blackjack and poker) engage the brain and can improve cognitive skills. It is important to remember that these activities must be undertaken within one’s means and must never lead to financial or personal problems.

Despite the wide array of benefits and costs associated with gambling, there is no universally accepted nomenclature. This is partly because research scientists, psychiatrists and other treatment care clinicians frame questions differently depending on their disciplinary training and world view. However, it is essential to identify the different impacts that can occur. These can be seen at the personal, interpersonal and community/societal levels (Fig 1). The former are those that affect gamblers themselves; the latter include costs or benefits aggregated by society that do not involve the individual gambler.