Gambling Harms – A Functional Definition of Harm From Gambling and a Conceptual Framework


Whether you play the lotto, place a bet on the horses or use the pokies, gambling can be an enjoyable experience and a source of excitement. However, if you are spending too much time and money on gambling or your gambling is causing problems in your life, it’s important to take steps to stop.

The harm that can occur from gambling is well known, and research has linked it to negative health outcomes and higher rates of problem gambling among certain populations. Harms from gambling may be related to a range of factors, including the nature and frequency of participation, financial losses, emotional distress and social support.

There are also other factors that can contribute to harmful gambling, including underlying mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. These can make it even harder for you to stop gambling, so it’s important to get help for a mental health condition.

Understanding gambling is the first step in preventing gambling related harms. Learn about the different types of gambling and what they entail, and understand why you should limit your money and time spent on gambling.

Gambling can be addictive and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of winning and losing. It can also be difficult to set limits on how much you gamble and when it’s time to quit.

Some people become addicted to gambling, and this can lead to a disorder called compulsive gambling, which means you cannot control your urges to gamble. It can affect your family, relationships and your physical and mental health.

There are many ways to get help for a gambling problem. Talk to a counsellor about your situation and they can give you advice and support.

The main aim of this project was to develop a functional definition of harm from gambling, and a conceptual framework that captures the breadth of how harm can manifest for the person who gambles, their affected others and their community. The framework was based on literature, consultation with experts and community sources, and aimed to capture the experience of harm in a way that is consistent with national definitions of problem gambling.

A functional definition of harm from gambling was developed that can be operationalised to support the measurement of gambling related harms, and is consistent with standard epidemiological protocols used in public health. This will allow a more coherent interpretation of gambling harms across treatment providers, policy makers and researchers.

During the development of the framework and definition, it was acknowledged that the experience of harms could be very complex. The complexity of the experience was a result of the subjectivity, depth and temporal categories in the experience of harms as well as the fact that harms could be experienced at a variety of levels or behavioural levels within the context of gambling.

The final draft of the definition of harm from gambling was derived through the use of focus groups and semi-structured interviews with individuals who had experienced gambling related harms either as a person who gambled, or as an affected other. These were conducted over a number of months, and utilised advertising on social media to recruit participants. The interviews were a mix of face-to-face and telephone interviews and averaged around 90 min in length.