Opportunity cost and gambling: Distinguishing between competing activities and harm

Paul Delfabbro, Daniel King, Neophytos Georgiou

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

6 Citations (Scopus)


The term gambling harm refers to the negative consequences associated with excessive gambling and is central to many definitions of problem gambling. For example, in Australia, problem gambling is defined as ‘‘difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling which leads to adverse consequences for the gambler, others, or for the community’’ (Neal et al., 2005). This definition is generally consistent with modern public health approaches to gambling policy that principally focus on the consequences or harms arising from gambling, rather than on individual pathology or behaviour (Abbott et al., 2013; Korn & Shaffer, 2001, Shaffer & Korn, 2002). The dimensions of gambling harm are generally well recognized. Harm, according to the Productivity Commission (1999), falls into several principal dimensions: personal, interpersonal, financial, vocational, and legal. Similar dimensions are listed by Langham et al. (2016) in a dedicated review and taxonomy of gambling harms. They categorize harms as financial, those relating to work or study, health-related, psychological, social, and another miscellaneous category that captures deviant or dysfunctional behaviours such as dishonesty, criminal acts, and child neglect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gambling Issues
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • gambling
  • gambling harm
  • problem gambling.
  • gambler
  • dysfunctional behaviours


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