Gambling Problems

Gambling is any game that involves risking money or something of value on an event whose outcome is determined partly by chance. It includes games of chance, like roulette and blackjack, as well as sports betting and horse races. It can also be a form of entertainment or a way to socialize.

A person may have a gambling problem when their betting or gaming habits start to cause problems in their life, work or family. This is often known as pathological gambling. Pathological gambling has been defined by the American Psychiatric Association as an impulse control disorder, in the same category as kleptomania, pyromania and trichotillomania (hair-pulling).

Many people who gamble do so recreationally, using it as a form of entertainment alongside other activities such as watching films or attending sporting events. A healthy balance is important, but if gambling becomes the main activity in someone’s life and they lose track of how much they’re spending, it can become a problematic behaviour.

If you know a friend or family member who has a problem with gambling, be aware of the effective treatments that are available for it. You might also want to familiarise yourself with the risks and warning signs, so that you can help them take better care of themselves. For example, remember that casinos are free of clocks and windows, so it’s easy to get lost in the activity and lose track of time. It’s also a good idea to avoid taking advantage of casino amenities such as free cocktails and snacks, which can tempt you to spend more than you planned to.