Gambling involves risking something of value (money or items of value) on a random event with the intention of winning more than was wagered. It includes betting on events such as sports events and horse races, games of chance like lotteries and scratchcards, as well as the use of electronic machines (e.g., slot machines). While most gambling takes place in a casino setting, it also can occur outside of casinos, for example in dead pools and lotteries, as well as in some social activities such as bingo and keno.
There are four main reasons people gamble – for social, financial, entertainment or coping reasons. Those who gamble for social reasons may do so because they enjoy the company of friends or other people while gambling, or because they like thinking about what they would do with a big win. Those who gamble for financial reasons may do so because they have set money goals to achieve, or because they think they are more likely to win than others. It is also possible to be addicted to gambling and experience a range of symptoms, including difficulty with concentration and depression.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, it’s important to seek help. Talk to your GP, who can refer you to a specialist service for support and treatment. In addition, try to strengthen your support network, and spend less time gambling. If you do decide to gamble, set money and time limits before you start, and leave when you reach your limit, whether you are winning or losing.