What Is Gambling?

Gambling is an activity in which individuals risk something of value on an event that is largely random, with the hope of winning something else of value. This can include games of chance such as lottery tickets, casino games and fruit machines as well as sports betting and fantasy leagues. In addition, skill-based gambling can also be included in this definition where the skills of the players improve the odds of winning, such as in card games and horse racing (Bruce and Johnson, 1996).

It is estimated that over half the population gambles. For many people this can be enjoyable and have no negative consequences but, for some, problem gambling can have devastating effects on their lives. These may include harming relationships, affecting performance at work or studies, leading to legal issues and even homelessness. Some individuals may even attempt suicide.

Individuals with problems around gambling are from all walks of life; they can be rich or poor, male or female and come from small towns or large cities. Problems can be caused by a range of reasons, including boredom, stress or depression. Often, individuals will try to hide the fact that they are gambling from their family and friends.

Various organisations provide support and assistance for individuals with gambling problems. These services can help them control their gambling, stop it completely or avoid it altogether. They can also help family members, friends and co-workers who are being affected by someone’s gambling.

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