What is Gambling?


Gambling is a type of entertainment in which you place a bet on a random event with the intent to win something of value. Skill may influence the outcome, but it is a combination of chance and intention that defines gambling. People gamble for a variety of reasons including: for the thrill of winning, to make money, to escape boredom or stress, to increase self-confidence and to feel more socially connected. Problem gambling is an addictive behavior and can cause serious harm to your health, family and work life.

Gambling can be a rewarding pastime, but it is not a profitable way to make money. In fact, the vast majority of money that is legally wagered each year is lost by people who gamble.

If you do choose to gamble, it’s important to only bet with money that you can afford to lose and to set time and money limits for yourself. Trying to ‘chase’ your losses by betting more often will lead to bigger losses and is likely to increase the risk of developing a gambling disorder.

While some people can enjoy gambling for a brief period of time, others become addicted and find it hard to stop. Common factors that contribute to a gambling addiction include an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity and a poor understanding of the odds (e.g., believing that a series of losses is due to bad luck or that one more spin will get them back). Longitudinal studies of gambling are essential, but are difficult to carry out as they require large financial investments and are subject to sample attrition and aging effects.

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