Gambling involves placing something of value on a random event such as rolling a dice, spinning a roulette wheel, or playing a card game and hoping to win a prize. It also includes betting on a sports outcome, such as winning or losing a competition. The chance that you will win depends on the randomness of the event, but some instances of strategy are discounted.
Gambling can have negative and positive impacts on the individual gambler, their significant others, and society at large. The literature has documented both financial and non-financial benefits and costs associated with gambling, including a reduction in depression and suicide, an increase in social interaction, increased leisure time, and improved self-concept among older gamblers.
Negative effects have also been reported, such as changes in work productivity, inability to pay bills, and increased debts. Often, gamblers who struggle with addiction will attempt to hide their gambling from family and friends and may even lie about it. They might also spend more and more money on gambling than they can afford to lose, leading to credit card and loan debts.
If you are worried about your own or someone else’s gambling habits, it is important to seek help. Support is available, including treatment, self-help tips, and peer groups. It’s also important to try to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with people who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques. If you are in financial crisis, speak to StepChange for free debt advice.