Gambling is an activity that involves risking something of value (money, possessions or your time) in an attempt to win something of value. It is often done for entertainment and can involve different things like card games, fruit machines, video-draw poker machines, table games, baccarat and roulette. In some cases gambling is more than just an enjoyable pastime, it can have a serious impact on people’s lives and lead to addiction. It can affect relationships, work and study performance and leave people in debt or even homeless. It has also been linked to suicide. If you think you have a gambling problem and it is having a negative effect on your life it’s important to seek help. There are lots of ways to get support including talking to a counsellor (free and confidential), getting in contact with StepChange for free debt advice or attending an inpatient or residential treatment programme.
Gambling is a dangerous game because of the way it distorts our judgement and thinking. For example, it can make us think that the more we gamble, the more likely we are to win and it can also cause us to lose control. You can reduce your chances of gambling becoming a problem by: deciding before you start how much money you are willing to spend and sticking to it. Don’t use credit cards or loans to gamble and try not to play while you are upset or depressed. Find other enjoyable activities to fill the void that gambling could be taking up and set yourself short-term and long-term goals.