Gambling is risking something of value (typically money) on an event that is determined at least partly by chance, with the hope of winning a prize. This is different from playing games where strategy is a factor, such as chess, card games or sports. Examples of gambling include lottery tickets, slot machines, poker, bingo, and betting on horse races or sports events.
People gamble for many reasons, including to relieve stress, take their mind off problems or socialize with friends. They also may be seeking excitement or the potential for a big win, which can trigger feelings of euphoria. However, most people do not get the euphoria they expect and end up losing the money they put on the line.
There are steps you can take to help yourself or someone you know who has a gambling problem. Talk to a trusted family member or professional counsellor. Avoid gambling with money that you need to pay bills or rent, and consider reducing financial risk factors by using cash only when you can, not credit cards. Reduce the use of gambling venues as socialising spaces and find alternative recreations or hobbies.
You can seek support for yourself or someone you know who has a problem with gambling by joining a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step recovery model used by Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also find online communities, such as GamCare and StopGamblingUK.