Problem Gambling

Gambling is an activity in which people place bets on the outcome of an event – this could be placing a bet on a team to win a football match, or buying a scratchcard. The person making the bet must choose what they want to gamble on, and then the odds (which are set by the betting company) will determine whether they win or lose. People often gamble for fun, but some become addicted and start to spend large amounts of money, often accumulating debts. This can cause significant harm to a person and their family.

Gamblers can be influenced by many factors, including the environment, genetics and their level of education. Problem gambling can affect people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Some of the main risk factors for developing a gambling addiction include low levels of educational achievement, family dynamics and the use of alcohol or drugs.

When a person begins to have a problem with gambling, they may try to control their behaviour by hiding their gambling from family and friends or by avoiding talking about it. In some cases, they might even begin to lie about their gambling activities, feeling that others won’t understand or will be disappointed if they know how much they are spending.

A number of organisations provide support, assistance and counselling to help people who are experiencing problems with gambling. The aim of these services is to help people control their gambling or, where this is not possible, to stop it altogether.