Gambling 101


Whether it’s buying a lotto ticket, scratch cards or placing a bet on sports events or elections, gambling involves risking money or possessions for a chance at a prize. This article looks at what it is, how it works and the risks. It also discusses some of the issues around gambling and how to get help.

Gambling can have a huge impact on people. It can damage relationships and cause financial hardship. It can even lead to health problems, addiction, crime and homelessness. Often, gambling is associated with depression, stress and substance abuse and can make these conditions worse. It can also interfere with work or study.

The first step in overcoming a gambling problem is recognising that you have a problem. If you suspect you have a gambling disorder, talk to your doctor or therapist and seek professional treatment. It is also important to treat the underlying mood disorders and deal with any substance abuse or addiction that may be contributing to your gambling.

If you are struggling to control your gambling, try setting limits and putting the activity in your entertainment budget rather than your daily expenses like rent or phone bills. Set a fixed amount you’re willing to lose, and stick to it. Don’t chase your losses: it will likely only result in more loss and possibly more harm. Consider cognitive-behaviour therapy, which can help you learn to resist irrational beliefs such as that a string of wins will soon appear or that a near miss (such as two out of three cherries on a slot machine) signals an imminent win.