Gambling and Social Antecedents


Gambling is an activity in which people risk money or material valuables on the outcome of an uncertain event, such as the roll of a dice or a race horse. It is an activity that has a long history and is viewed differently by different people, depending on their personal experiences, disciplinary training and world views. For example, it is often seen as a recreational activity, a sign of mental illness or moral turpitude, or a source of revenue and livelihood. Consequently, gambling is regulated by many governments to limit its availability and impact on individuals and society as a whole.

Social gambling often takes place in informal settings, such as card games for a small amount of money with friends, taking part in a friendly sports betting pool or buying lottery tickets with colleagues. Although these forms of gambling are not formally recognised by the government, they are likely to be less harmful than the activities of professional gamblers who make a living from gambling as their primary source of income. Regardless of the type of gambling, it is important to set aside a specific budget for it and stick to this. This will help you avoid getting swept up in the excitement of winning and losing. Keeping your bankroll separate from other expenses also helps you not spend more than you can afford to lose and makes it easier to stop when you are losing. You can also use apps to track your spending or set alarms for yourself, so when the time comes to stop you know you have reached your pre-determined limit. Another good tip is to leave your credit or debit cards at home if you are going out to gamble, as it will be more difficult to spend beyond your limit this way.

The study examined the relationship between gambling and various childhood, parental, and socioeconomic antecedents using three surveys administered at ages 17, 20, and 24 years from the large longitudinal ALSPAC cohort. Missing data on some antecedents was substantial and, despite the use of multiple imputation techniques to minimise bias, analyses are likely to have underestimated the prevalence of gambling. The ALSPAC sample was predominately white, and the self-reports of gambling were subject to a variety of biases including social desirability, and memory distortion.

The results of the study suggest that parental and SES factors are important determinants of youth gambling. In particular, a lower maternal education level was associated with greater odds of occasional and regular gambling for males and females at age 17 years and with more frequent gambling for females at age 20 and 24 years. A household in council or housing association accommodation was also associated with more frequent and severe gambling for both boys and girls at age 20 years. These findings support the importance of comprehensive interventions to reduce gambling among young people, incorporating both prevention and treatment strategies.