Gambling 'is not always bad'

Surprised Woman'Gambling isn't always bad?!?'

Although the media often demonise frequent gambling, one university professor has pointed out that a hobby is only an addiction if it does not have positive consequences.

Nottingham Trent University's International Gaming Research Unit, professor of gambling studies, Dr Mark Griffiths, explains that many people spend large amounts of time playing games, without any negative impact on their life as a whole.

"I argue that 'excessive' gaming does not necessarily mean that a person is addicted and that the reinforcing properties of gaming can be harnessed for use in both educational and therapeutic contexts," he says.

Dr Griffiths has listed six different ways in which playing games can be beneficial for many people, including patients recovering from certain disabilities.

These include: fun and excitement; motivation and stimulation; interaction; challenge and engagement; mood modification; provision of novelty; and enhancement of skills.

While casual gamers might not need all of these aspects - particularly those that might help others to rehabilitate after injuries or illness - many of them are clearly among the reasons why people start gambling in the first place.

And as long as you've got a handle on your wagers - and particularly if you're winning in the long term - there's no reason to suggest that frequent betting of any kind is a problem.

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