Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is determined at least in part by chance with the hope of winning. This can include betting on a team to win a football match, buying lottery or scratchcards, and even placing bets with friends. The first step in gambling is choosing what to bet on – this could be a team or an individual, such as a horse, and the choice is then matched to ‘odds’ which describe the chances of that person winning.
The underlying idea behind odds is that the more often an event occurs, the less likely it is to happen again. This is known as the law of large numbers and it is a key principle in gambling. It is also a key reason why the odds of a certain outcome are higher when the stakes are lower, and lower when the stakes are higher.
If you’re worried about your gambling, or someone else’s, then it may be worth seeking treatment or advice. The good news is that many people can recover from this type of addiction. There are a range of treatments available including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which looks at your beliefs about betting and how you feel and behave when you want to gamble.
CBT can help you learn healthier ways to manage unpleasant feelings and relieve boredom. It can also look at any underlying mood disorders you might be suffering from, like depression or anxiety, which can trigger or make problem gambling worse. It’s also worth considering financial therapy, which can offer debt advice and help you get back on track.