What is Gambling?


Gambling is an activity in which a person risks something of value (consideration) on the outcome of a game of chance or skill. The goal of gambling is to win a prize, which can range from a small amount of money to a life-changing jackpot. There are many different forms of gambling, from scratchcards and fruit machines to betting on horse racing or football matches. People can gamble at casinos, racetracks, online or in their own homes.

Problem gambling can have immediate and long-term financial, personal and family impacts. It can also have negative effects on relationships and work. Some people with an addiction to gambling also struggle with other addictive behaviors, such as alcohol or drugs. Often, these are related to an inability to meet underlying needs such as a need for power and control or a desire for reward and excitement.

Some people who gamble have a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Treatment for these conditions may help reduce gambling symptoms. Other treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches a person to change unhealthy gambling behaviors and thoughts, such as false beliefs and rationalizations. It can also teach a person how to solve financial, work and relationship problems caused by gambling.

A person can stop gambling by cutting off access to credit cards, letting someone else manage their finances, closing accounts on gambling websites and keeping only a small amount of cash on them at all times. They can also seek support from friends and family or join a self-help group for families affected by gambling addiction, such as Gam-Anon.