Problem Gambling

Gambling is the placing of something of value, usually money, on an uncertain event or outcome. It is a popular pastime, and the legal turnover of gambling worldwide exceeds $10 trillion annually (illegal gambling may be much higher). People gamble for social and recreational reasons or to win money or other prizes. They can place bets on sports events, horse races, dog races, cards, bingo, slot machines, instant scratch-off tickets, or even a roll of dice.

Most people who gamble do so responsibly and enjoy the thrill of winning, the sense of relaxation or the social interaction. For others, however, gambling can become a problem.

The risk of harmful gambling increases if you have mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, or if you are experiencing financial stress. It can also be difficult to identify a problem, particularly if you are in denial or have family members who support your behaviour.

There are several types of psychological therapy that can help people with problem gambling, including psychodynamic therapy, which examines unconscious processes and how they influence your behaviour; group therapy, in which you discuss your issues with other people who have similar experiences; marriage, career and credit counselling.

The impacts of gambling are categorized into financial, labor and health and well-being. The former is associated with changes in economic activities and the latter includes impacts on personal and community/society levels, such as increased debt, loss of employment, inability to work, decreased productivity, and loss of family time.