Gambling involves risking something of value for the chance to win money or something else of value. It can take many forms, from buying lottery tickets to playing video poker and betting on sports events. Gambling occurs in casinos, at racetracks and other venues and over the Internet. It can also involve materials that have a value but not cash, such as marbles or collectable trading cards (for example, Magic: The Gathering or Pogs).
Most people who gamble do not have gambling disorder, which the American Psychiatric Association describes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an impulse control disorder. However, some people who have gambling disorder can experience serious harm. People who have gambling disorder may attempt to hide their gambling, lie about how much they spend and even steal money to fund their gambling activities. They may also become depressed or suicidal.
If you gamble, only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. Don’t use money that you need to pay bills or rent. Set a time limit for how long you want to gamble and leave when you hit your time limit, whether you are winning or losing. Don’t chase lost money, as this will almost always result in bigger losses. And don’t gamble when you’re upset or stressed – it is harder to make good decisions. Also, balance gambling with other activities so that it doesn’t take over your life and prevent you from doing things that you enjoy.