Gambling involves putting something of value, such as money or property, on an event that is random and unpredictable. The intent is to win and receive something else of value – the winnings. A variety of different events are considered to be gambling, including betting on football matches or buying scratchcards. However, it is important to understand that all forms of gambling are inherently risky – every time you bet you lose something.
There is a high prevalence of gambling problems worldwide, and the exact causes are unknown. However, it is generally agreed that gamblers tend to show signs of impulsiveness and poor self-control. This may be due to the fact that gambling often triggers feelings of euphoria, which are linked to the brain’s reward system. Furthermore, the prospect of winning a large amount of money can lead to compulsive behaviour (Clotfelter and Cook, 1989).
It is also worth noting that there are many other reasons why people gamble besides the chance of winning. For example, some gamble to relieve stress and others because it changes their mood. In addition, gambling can create a sense of social interaction and be an enjoyable hobby.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) can help. We have a wealth of information on this topic and offer free advice and support. To find out more, please visit our Gambling page or call us. The RGC is a non-profit organisation that works to promote safer gambling and advance responsible gambling standards across Canada and the world.