Harms From Gambling – A Conceptual Framework and Taxonomy


Gambling is an activity where you put your money or anything else of value at risk to predict the outcome of a game that involves chance. This can include lottery tickets, fruit machines and betting with friends. You can also gamble on sports events, including horse races or football accumulators.

It can be fun to try your luck, but you should never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose. This could mean losing your job, home or family. You could even get into debt, which can be hard to recover from.

Many people enjoy gambling at some point in their lives, but if you’re addicted it can have a negative impact on your life. It can affect your mental health, relationships and performance at work or study, as well as getting you into trouble with the law.

Often, you need to find someone to help you stop gambling. There are lots of support services around, including inpatient or residential treatment programmes.

Over half of the population in the UK take part in some form of gambling, and the harms can be severe. Problem gambling can lead to loss of control, serious financial problems, relationship issues, a decline in your social skills and a higher risk of suicide.

A problem with gambling is called a gambling disorder. It can start at any age and is more common in men than women. There are many things that can cause a person to develop a problem with gambling, such as stress, trauma, a poor social life or financial difficulties.

The problem is that it can be difficult to recognise when you’re gambling excessively. You may feel that you’re doing it for yourself, but if it’s affecting other areas of your life, like work or studies, your finances and/or your relationships then it’s time to seek help.

To do this, you’ll need to understand how gambling works and what the risks are. You can find out more about this in the How to Gamble section, and there are resources to help you if you’re worried about your own gambling or that of a friend or family member.

Harms from Gambling: A Conceptual Framework and Taxonomy

Harms from gambling are a complex phenomenon that can vary between individuals and have varied impacts on the broader community. The harms from gambling can be more or less pronounced depending on the amount of time and/or money spent on gambling, as well as the frequency and type of gambling.

There is a need for a definition of harms from gambling that captures the full breadth and experience of these harmful effects, as well as a means of measuring these effects. These are two of the main barriers to a clear definition and conceptualisation of gambling related harms in the public health literature.

To address this, a harms framework was developed to capture the spectrum of gambling related harms. This framework was based on four separate methodologies, including a literature review, focus groups and interviews with professionals involved in the support and treatment of gambling problems and interviewees who experienced harms related to gambling. This resulted in a catalogue of harms, which was organised into a taxonomy of harms. This taxonomy was then used to generate a harms definition that has content validity and construct validity, as well as providing a robust, consistent framework to use in defining harms from gambling.