Gambling is risking money or anything of value in a game involving chance, such as betting on sports, scratchcards, fruit machines, bingo, lottery games, racing and card games. People gamble for a variety of reasons – the adrenaline rush, socialising, to win money or prizes, as a way to escape from boredom, worries and stress. For some, gambling becomes a problem. It can affect personal relationships, family life, health and work performance. It can also impact the community, generating crime, loss of jobs and financial crises.
Some communities consider gambling to be a traditional pastime, making it harder for them to recognise a gambling problem. Often, these attitudes are based on culture and beliefs rather than on research evidence about the causes of problematic gambling.
Many people who have a gambling problem feel guilty about it. They may lie to their friends and families, break promises or stop attending social events they had planned. This can create tension in relationships and lead to a lack of trust, which can be very difficult to repair. They may even start to think that they are the only one who has a problem, which can make them feel ashamed.
When you are dealing with a gambling problem, it is important to limit your access to cash. Try to pay bills by direct debit or cheque, and avoid going out when clubs, pubs, TABs or casinos are open. It is also a good idea to get professional financial advice.