Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event that is primarily determined by chance, including the outcome of games that use collectable items as stakes (such as marbles or pogs). The gambler places a bet based on the odds of an outcome – for example, that a particular team will win a football match or that a certain scratchcard will reveal a prize. The player receives a reward if they win, and loses if they don’t.
Some people gamble for a living, either dishonestly or legitimately. Many others have problems with gambling that lead to adverse consequences, both financially and socially. These problems can also interfere with work and school life. Some people may even be forced to take illegal acts in order to finance their gambling addictions.
Pathological gambling (PG) – a serious form of problem gambling – is characterized by persistent and recurrent maladaptive patterns of gambling behaviors. PG is often identified in adolescence and young adulthood, and tends to be more common in males than in females.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, there are ways to help. Talk about the issue with someone who won’t judge you – for example, a friend or family member, or a professional counsellor. Seek financial assistance or set up budgeting arrangements to control spending. Avoid going to casinos or other gambling venues and find new recreational or social activities. Ensure you always carry only a small amount of cash on you, and make sure your credit cards are not easily accessible.