Whether it’s buying lotto tickets, placing a bet on the horses or betting with the pokies, gambling involves risking something of value (money) on an event that has an uncertain outcome. This event can be anything from winning the lottery to a football match or scratchcard game. The first step in gambling is choosing what you want to bet on – this could be a team or an individual player. This is then matched to ‘odds’, which are set by the bookmaker and determine how much you can win if you gamble correctly.
Research has shown that there are some people who become addicted to gambling and can’t control their behaviour. This can cause financial and personal problems. If you are concerned about your gambling, speak to a doctor or therapist and get support.
There are several types of mental health therapy for problem gambling, including cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy looks at the beliefs that you have about gambling and helps you to change them. You might be prone to believing you are more likely to win than you actually are or that certain rituals will bring you luck, for example.
It also looks at the way you spend your money and time and how you might hide your gambling activity. Family therapy can help you work through the specific issues caused by your gambling, and marriage, career and credit counseling can help you repair your relationships and finances. Inpatient and residential treatment and rehabilitation programs are also available for those who need round-the-clock support to overcome their addiction.