Gambling is a type of risky behavior in which people place bets on the outcome of events that can’t be predicted, with the potential to win money. Some of these bets require skill or knowledge, but others are pure chance. Examples of gambling include betting on sports events, placing a bet on the stock market, or buying life insurance. The definition of gambling can vary by state law, but a typical legal definition includes “risking something of value upon an event with an uncertain outcome.”
While most adults and adolescents gamble at some point in their lives, up to 5% of them develop a gambling disorder. This type of addiction is sometimes called compulsive gambling or pathological gambling. Some people, especially young people and men, are more susceptible to developing a gambling disorder than others. Vulnerability is also increased by family and economic circumstances, and by mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
The first step in getting help for a gambling problem is admitting that you have one. It can be hard to accept that you have a problem, particularly if you’ve lost a lot of money or strained relationships as a result of your gambling. However, recognizing that you have a problem is the best thing that you can do for yourself.
Another important step is setting boundaries around gambling. It’s a good idea to only gamble with disposable income and never use money that you need to pay bills or rent. You should also make a commitment to only play for a set amount of time. Lastly, seek out a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.