Gambling is when a person risks something of value, such as money, on an event that relies on chance or luck, for example on the outcome of a game or a sporting event. This includes betting on sports or races and playing scratch cards, casino games or poker, as well as other gambling activities, such as buying stocks, securities or lottery tickets.
It can be difficult to recognise when a problem is forming. This is partly because gambling is a popular pastime in many communities and can be culturally valued, making it harder to admit when it’s become harmful. It can also be difficult to recognise when someone has a problem because they may hide their spending or lie about how much they gamble.
Gambling is an addictive behaviour and can affect your health, work performance, relationships and finances. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s gambling, there are services that can help. They can teach you how to control your gambling or stop it altogether, and they can offer support for friends and family. They can also help you learn healthier ways to relieve unpleasant feelings, such as exercising, socialising with people who don’t gamble and taking up a new hobby. They can also refer you to specialist addiction services.