Gambling is an activity where you put money or something of value on a game that involves chance. This can include fruit machines, scratchcards and betting on sporting events or elections.
Some people enjoy gambling and others find it harmful. If you have a problem with gambling, there are services and support available to help you cut down or stop it.
A good place to start is the Self-Help sections on this website. These can give you the knowledge and skills to manage your gambling and lead a more meaningful life free from harm.
The Benefits of Gambling
Some forms of gambling are socially beneficial, and can provide a source of income for government and society. These include sports gambling, horse racing, lottery tickets, casino games and poker. These activities also create jobs for bookmakers, trainers, jockeys and race stewards.
They can also teach you personal accountability, and help you learn how to set limits on your spending. However, they can also damage your mental health and finances.
The Harms of Gambling
Gambling can be damaging to your health, relationships and performance at work or study, and can get you into trouble with the law, or leave you in serious debt and with possible homelessness. It can also increase your risk of suicide.
Many people who gamble also have mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. They may use gambling to try and cope with their mental health problems, or they might want to distract themselves from feeling unhappy or upset.
If you think someone you know is a problem gambler, talk to them about it and ask for advice. You can also contact the Gambling Helpline if you have concerns or if you think they might be at risk of losing control.
It can be hard to know if you have a problem, so it is important that you seek help from professionals who can assess your behaviour and advise you. These people can also provide support and guidance for you and your loved ones, so you can stop or cut down your gambling.
The environment where you live can affect your gambling. This can include the number of casinos, the type of gambling and your coping styles, social learning and beliefs.
You can also increase your chances of developing a gambling problem by putting money in a casino, playing with friends or family or trying to win big on online gambling sites. The internet has made gambling more accessible and convenient than ever before, and it is now easy to play online and at land-based casinos.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment for gambling addiction. This type of therapy helps reframe irrational thought patterns and habits in a positive way. For example, a problem gambler might learn to challenge the irrational belief that a string of losses or a near miss on a slot machine signals an imminent win.
Another effective form of gambling therapy is group therapy, which can be particularly helpful if your loved one has other co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety. The group can be a safe place for the gambler to vent their frustrations and share their experiences. They will also be able to hear that they are not alone in their problems.