What is Gambling?
Gambling is an activity where you stake something of value (either money or possessions) on an event with an uncertain outcome. The event is usually a game of chance or a contest, but it can also be an investment or a lottery. It requires three elements: consideration, risk and a prize. It does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, such as purchasing and selling a product for delivery at a future date.
Some people are predisposed to gambling, triggered by an underactive brain reward system or genetic factors that can increase the likelihood of thrill-seeking behaviours and impulsivity. Many people with a gambling disorder start at an early age and it tends to run in families. It can cause serious problems for individuals and their families, including financial difficulties, strained relationships and even homelessness.
It can be difficult to recognise a gambling problem and it can be especially hard to admit it to family members and friends. Some people try to hide their gambling habits and lie about how much time and money they spend on it. Others will resort to extreme measures to fund their gambling, such as forging cheques, stealing money from work or using credit cards.
A growing body of evidence shows that gambling is an addictive behaviour with significant negative consequences for health, wellbeing and society. It is a common and highly complex problem and it is important to get help for anyone struggling with it.
Whether it’s online pokies, sports betting or buying a lotto ticket, gambling is a risky endeavour and most people lose money in the long run. If you do gamble, make sure you only bet with what you can afford to lose and set yourself limits for how long and how much you will gamble each week. Never chase your losses – this will only lead to bigger and bigger losses.
The most important step in overcoming gambling addiction is acknowledging that you have a problem and asking for help. The good news is that there are lots of people who have been in your shoes and have successfully broken the habit to live a better life.
It can be tempting to gamble in order to feel happy and secure, but it is important to remember that gambling products are designed to keep you hooked by rewarding you with small wins, which can quickly add up to large losses. If you do gamble, set yourself a weekly budget and don’t use your rent or phone bill budgets to fund it. If you’re unsure of how to start, try our free online therapist service and get matched with a licensed & vetted therapist in less than 48 hours.