Gambling is when you risk money or something of value in the hope of winning something else of value. It can be done in many ways, including buying a lottery ticket, placing bets on football matches or scratchcards, or betting with friends. But gambling is inherently risky and there’s always the possibility of losing everything.
The way people gamble varies, but most have some of the same psychological and motivational factors that make them vulnerable to harmful behaviours. For example, some gamblers have a tendency to think they’re more likely to win than others and that rituals or certain games will bring them luck. These beliefs can lead to the ‘gambler’s fallacy’, where you start to believe you are due a big win and will get your money back. This can quickly spiral out of control and lead to bigger losses and debt.
If you are having problems with gambling, it is important to seek help and support. There are a number of different organisations that offer therapy and advice, such as GamCare. They have a self-assessment tool to help you understand how your gambling is affecting your life and can recommend the right support for you. They also provide face-to-face and online counselling, and a range of other services such as family therapy, relationship and credit counseling. They can help you address the specific issues arising from your gambling, as well as underlying mood disorders such as depression or stress, which often trigger problem gambling.