Gambling As a Social Practice


Gambling is the wagering of something of value (money, assets, or property) on a random event with the intent to win another item of value. It includes activities such as playing slot machines, roulette, and horse racing. It also involves the use of a computer to place bets or to play online games. In addition, gambling can involve the use of dice or cards.

For some people, gambling is a form of entertainment and can be fun when things go their way, but for others it becomes a serious problem that takes over their life. Problem gambling can cause major damage to personal relationships, work and education. It can even result in financial ruin, bankruptcy and incarceration. It is important to recognize the signs of problem gambling and seek help if you think you have a problem.

Until recently, the majority of research on gambling has been framed using psychological and economic models of individual behaviour and addiction. However, a growing body of socio-cultural research is developing in this area. This approach considers gambling as a social practice that is embedded in cultural norms and values. It draws on social constructivist theories of practice that highlight the role of meaning making and cultural influences in gambling behaviour.

These practices are often promoted through advertising and marketing, which rely on appeals to psychophysiological and cognitive signs and reinforce cultures of gambling [31]. This makes it an appropriate subject for consideration from the perspective of a practice theory approach.

For many people, the enjoyment and thrill of gambling is based on the anticipation of winning. They may gamble in order to feel a rush of excitement or because they want to try and win back the money they lost. Some people also gamble as a way to escape from problems or concerns, such as boredom, loneliness, depression, financial difficulties, grief, and other personal issues. It is easy for some individuals to become addicted to gambling as a way of dealing with these problems, especially when the media portrays it as a glamorous and fun activity that can make you rich quickly. Some people are secretive about their gambling, lying to family members and friends or increasing their bets in a bid to try and recoup losses. They may also try and find ways to hide evidence of their gambling, such as stashing money under their pillow or hiding credit cards. Families dealing with this type of issue should seek professional help, such as family therapy and marriage, career and credit counseling. They should also set limits on access to money by removing credit cards, having someone else manage finances and keeping only a small amount of cash in their possession. They should also join a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. This can provide invaluable guidance and support to those struggling with problem gambling.