Gambling 101

The act of wagering something of value on an event that depends on chance and has an uncertain outcome. It can involve placing a bet on an individual or group, such as a football team or a scratchcard. Commercial gambling operators make their profits by occupying an advantaged position, or by charging a fee for the opportunity to play.

Some forms of gambling can be social, such as playing card or board games with friends for a small amount of money, or betting on sports events or the lottery with coworkers. Other forms of gambling are professional and involve the use of strategy and skill. Professional gamblers can win a lot of money by predicting the outcome of random events.

Gambling can be addictive, and it’s important to stay in control of your finances and spending habits. Make sure to only gamble with disposable income and never with money that you need for bills or rent. Whenever possible, balance your gambling with other activities, such as going to the movies or seeing a friend for coffee. Also, don’t be tempted to buy casino comps, such as free cocktails. They can lead to over-gambling and a bigger loss.

If you struggle with compulsive gambling, talk to a therapist. BetterHelp can match you with a licensed, accredited therapist who can help you stop gambling and rebuild your life. Take the assessment and get matched in as little as 48 hours. If you’re struggling with a family member who has a problem with gambling, see our article on helping a loved one with addiction.