Gambling involves wagering something of value on a random event, with the intention of winning something else of value. It includes games of chance such as slot machines, lotteries, and coin flipping, but also sports betting, which requires knowledge of the game and teams, as well as skill.
People gamble for many reasons, from the thrill of winning to socialising and escaping worries or stress. But for some it can become a problem. If you find yourself gambling more than you can afford to lose or borrowing money to fund your habit, speak to someone for help.
Those with mental health problems are at greater risk of gambling problems. It is also known that proximity to gambling venues increases the likelihood of problematic gambling behaviour, such as when it’s easy to access a casino app on your phone or open a bookmaker website.
There are many ways to stop gambling, from getting help with treatment and joining a support group to cutting down on your internet usage and keeping your credit cards out of reach. You can also make it harder to gamble by staying away from casinos, avoiding free cocktails and refusing to chase your losses – the idea that you’re due for a big win and can recoup your lost money is called the gambler’s fallacy. Lastly, don’t gamble if you’re feeling depressed or upset. Instead, try to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques.