What is Gambling?

Gambling is the risking of something of value, such as money or possessions, on an event involving chance, with the intent to win something else of value. It includes games of chance that are purely random and those where skill may improve the odds (e.g., card games). It does not include business transactions based on law or contracts, such as the purchase of stocks and securities, or the purchase of life or health insurance.

Problem gambling can have severe financial and social consequences for individuals and their families. It can also be a sign of an underlying mental health condition like depression or anxiety. While there are no medications to treat gambling disorders, therapy can help. Counseling can teach you how to recognize warning signs and seek help for your problem gambling.

People gamble for many reasons, including the desire to win money and a sense of excitement. In fact, when you win a bet, your brain releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. But for some, the thrill of winning can outweigh the risks and lead to troubled gambling behaviors.

The first step in overcoming a gambling problem is admitting that there is one. For some, it takes tremendous courage to admit that they have a problem. Especially when the gambler has lost a lot of money or strained or broken relationships as a result of their behavior. Seek support from friends and family and consider joining a gambling support group or a self-help group for families, such as Gam-Anon.