Gambling is the wagering of something of value (e.g. money, goods, or services) on an event whose outcome is uncertain and for which a prize may be offered. A gambling event can be as simple as a single person or a social group making a prediction of an event’s outcome, but the more formalized form of gambling involves betting on events with an established payout. This type of gambling is sometimes referred to as ‘real’ or ‘commercial’ gambling and often takes place in casinos, horse racetracks, or on the Internet.
Gambling can lead to serious personal and social problems. Compulsive gambling can deplete bank accounts, drain family resources, and create strained relationships. It is also associated with increased crime and homelessness, and can cause people to lie about their spending or hide evidence of gambling from loved ones. Some gamblers end up losing their jobs, which can lead to debt and bankruptcy. Others are forced to rely on family and friends for money or borrow from lenders. Employers may also experience losses due to reduced productivity, employee absenteeism, and theft of company assets.
To prevent gambling addiction, set a fixed amount of money you’re willing to lose and only gamble within that limit. Never use your phone bill or rent money to gamble, and never chase your losses. It’s also important to surround yourself with people who support you, and find a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous or Gambling Recovery.