Gambling As a Risky and Rewarding Pastime

Gambling involves placing a wager or stake on an event or game with the intent of winning something of value. It can be a fun and rewarding activity for some people, but for others it may become a serious problem that affects their health, family, work and study performance and even leads to debt and homelessness.

Whether it’s lottery tickets, scratch-offs, video poker, table games or slots, gambling is a risky pastime that’s hard to win. You should only bet money you can afford to lose, and never use money that you need for essentials such as food and shelter. You should also set a budget before you play, and try to avoid tempting yourself with free drinks or other bonuses (they’re there for a reason). Always remember that the odds are always against you.

Some people find it difficult to recognize when their gambling behaviour becomes problematic. This can be because of cultural or societal beliefs about gambling that make it seem like a normal pastime, or it could be because their brains are genetically predisposed to impulsivity and thrill-seeking.

There are also a number of factors that can influence the risk of developing a gambling problem, including the effects of medication, trauma and a person’s underlying personality traits. Some people are more likely to be attracted to gambling, and some forms of gambling can be easier for them to access than others. CU’s mental health resources can help you explore your relationship with gambling and connect with support services. You can schedule a screening or a Let’s Talk session with a provider via AcademicLiveCare, the online platform that allows all students, staff and faculty to meet virtually with counseling and psychiatry providers.