Gambling is when you risk money or something of value to predict the outcome of a game that involves chance, such as a fruit machine or scratchcard. You win if you predict the outcome correctly and lose if you miss.
The risk of losing your money can be serious, so it’s important to choose games that are safe. Make sure to set a limit before you go and stick to it, especially if you’re using credit cards.
You should also avoid playing with friends or family if you’re struggling to stop. This can increase the chances of you relapsing.
If you are worried about your own gambling or that of someone close to you, contact a support service. They can help you decide whether gambling is a problem for you and find ways to prevent or stop it.
A gambling addiction is a mental health disorder. It can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a type of talk therapy that helps people understand why they gamble and what makes them feel differently about it.
It can also help you manage your finances, which can be difficult when you’re feeling stressed. The Better Health Channel fact sheet ‘Gambling – financial issues’ contains advice for dealing with this.
Many people who suffer from a gambling problem are unable to control their behaviour and may be tempted to gamble more often than they should, which can be harmful for their mental health. CBT can help people with gambling problems identify and change their beliefs about betting, including those about luck, and learn new behaviours that will make them less likely to gamble.