Gambling is the wagering of something of value (typically money) on an event that has some element of chance, in the hope of winning a larger prize. It can be done with cards, dice, horses, sports events, lottery tickets, instant scratch-offs, video poker and slots, and more. Gambling can occur in brick-and-mortar casinos, online, and other places. It is considered a problem when it interferes with your daily life, work, and relationships.
It’s important to know how gambling works so you can make informed decisions and avoid the risk of becoming addicted. If you gamble for entertainment, make sure to set a time limit ahead of time and stick to it. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose, and don’t use your rent or phone bill budget to do it. Don’t gamble while depressed or upset, and try to balance it with other fun activities. It is also a good idea to avoid chasing your losses, as this will usually lead to bigger and bigger losses.
If you suspect you have a gambling problem, it’s important to seek help. There are a variety of treatments for gambling disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). People who have mental health problems are more at risk of harmful gambling because they may use it to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, distract themselves from distressing situations, or reward themselves for positive outcomes. Speak to a GP about your concerns, or call StepChange for free, confidential debt advice.