Gambling is an activity where a person wagers money, usually with the intention of winning a prize. It may be a social activity (for example, poker), a way to make a living (casinos) or a form of entertainment.
Pathological gambling is an addiction.
When a person is unable to control their gambling, it can lead to problems with their mental health and relationships. There are a number of ways to treat a problem with gambling, including medication and therapy typically used for substance addictions.
Adolescents can also be affected by problematic gambling.
Several assessments have been developed to identify youth who may be at risk for gambling-related problems. However, this is a relatively new field of research and the findings are not consistent across countries.
Common reasons why people gamble include:
Social/entertainment purposes – for fun, to get that rush or “high” or because it makes an event more enjoyable.
Financial reasons – to win money, because winning would change one’s life or because they enjoy thinking about what they might do if they won a large amount of money.
Excessive gambling – when someone’s gambling becomes more important than their other activities and interferes with family, work or school.
When the gambling is costing them a lot of money, it is often a sign of a problem and they should seek help for their problem.
Having a budget for your gambling can help you limit the amount of money that you spend and stop when you can’t afford to. It is also a good idea to avoid the temptation to chase losses, thinking that you can suddenly get lucky again and recoup all your lost money.