Gambling is when you risk something of value, such as money or possessions, on an event involving chance. This includes casino games like poker and fruit machines, betting on events such as horse and greyhound races or football accumulators, and lottery tickets and scratchcards. It also involves gambling on financial events, such as insurance premiums or stock market shares.
Some people become addicted to gambling and it can harm their physical and mental health, relationships with family, friends and work colleagues, cause debt and even lead to homelessness. Problem gambling can affect children and young people too.
There are many treatments for gambling addiction, including cognitive-behavioral therapy which helps to change unhealthy thinking and behaviour. It can also help to solve the work and family problems that can result from problem gambling. There are also specialist programmes for children and young people who are addicted to gambling.
To help you stop gambling, think about the consequences of your actions, consider how much money and time you can spend on it, and only gamble with disposable income, not money that is needed for paying bills or rent. Also try to avoid chasing your losses. This is a common mistake that can lead to bigger and bigger losses. Instead, seek support, talk to a trusted friend or family member or visit a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. It is also helpful to try to fill the void that gambling has left in your life with other activities, such as exercise, reading or socialising with family and friends.