What Is Gambling?


Gambling is risking something of value on an event that is at least partly determined by chance with the hope of winning a prize. The activity can involve any stake that has value, such as money, goods, services, or even a person’s reputation. It includes games of skill, like chess, poker, and sports, as well as social activities such as playing card or board games for small amounts, participating in a friendly office pool, buying lottery tickets, and betting on a sporting event. It excludes bona fide business transactions that are valid under the law, such as purchasing or selling securities or commodities, contracts of indemnity or guaranty, and life, health, or accident insurance.

Problem gambling is an intensely psychological and often highly addictive activity that can cause significant problems for the gambler and his or her family. It can interfere with work or study, lead to financial problems and homelessness, and have devastating consequences for the gambler’s mental and physical health. It can also cause stress, tension, and depression, and can affect relationships.

It can be difficult for people with a gambling disorder to recognise that they have a problem and to seek treatment. They may hide their gambling activity and lie about how much they are spending, and they might feel compelled to keep gambling in the hope that they will win enough to make up for losses. Some people find that counseling helps them to understand their problem, think about options, and solve problems. BetterHelp can match you with a therapist who is experienced in treating gambling disorders.