Problem Gambling


Gambling is an activity in which people wager money or something of value on the outcome of a random event. This can involve betting on sports events, playing games like poker or roulette, or even just buying lottery tickets with friends. The prize could be money, a luxury item or something else of value. The risk involved in gambling is that you will lose more than you win. The risk can be psychological, physical or financial.

For some people, gambling can be a fun and social activity. It can also provide a way to relieve boredom, depression or anxiety. The media often portrays gambling as a glamorous, exciting and fun activity, which can make people think it is a low-risk, high-reward entertainment choice. For some people, however, gambling can lead to addiction and serious problems in their lives.

Problem gambling is a complex issue and understanding it is challenging. Historically, pathological gambling has been seen as a compulsion, motivated by the desire to relieve anxiety. More recently, it has been recognised as a psychological disorder akin to substance addiction.

Some people find it difficult to walk away from gambling, even when they know it is causing them harm. They may hide their gambling activity or lie to family and friends about how much they are spending. They might even start to think they are ‘getting lucky’ and that they will soon have a big win to recoup their losses. This thinking is based on the idea that partial reinforcement motivates behaviour. This means that when you perform a particular behaviour, the reward from it isn’t immediate and it can take time for you to get back to the same level of enjoyment.