Gambling is an activity that involves risking something of value (money, possessions or time) for a potential prize win. People gamble in many different ways, from card games to horse racing and football accumulators. Some forms of gambling are legal, but others are not. It is important to understand how gambling works so that you can protect yourself from it.
Gambling can be very addictive and is a common problem in many families. It can have serious effects on a person’s health, relationships and performance at work or school. It can also lead to debt and homelessness. If you have a gambling problem it is important to seek help as soon as possible.
There are several different ways to get help for a gambling addiction. One option is to visit a professional gambling counsellor who can help you learn how to control your urges and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Another option is to try self-help programs such as Gamblers Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. These programs provide peer support and are often effective at helping people stop or reduce their gambling.
You can also find help for a gambling problem through family and marriage counselling, financial counselling and credit counselling. These programs can teach you skills that can help you control your finances and build healthy relationships.
In addition to these treatments, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective tool for addressing an addiction to gambling. This type of treatment helps people learn to recognise irrational beliefs and behaviours that may be contributing to their addiction, such as the belief that a string of losses means they’re due for a big win.
It’s important to keep in mind that gambling is not an essential part of life and should be enjoyed as a form of entertainment, not as a way to make money. It’s also important to only gamble with disposable income and never with money that needs to be saved for bills or rent. Also, if you’re thinking about gambling, it’s worth considering how it might impact on your other interests and activities, such as sports or socialising.
The best way to prevent gambling problems is to keep it in balance with other activities, and make sure you don’t gamble when you’re stressed or upset. Avoid chasing your losses as this is likely to result in even larger losses, and beware of Bet Regret (an experience where you make a bet and then regret it). You can also take control of your money by setting limits and not gambling on credit. Also, be aware of triggers and avoid places where you’ve been gambling, like casinos or TABs. For more information, see the Better Health Channel fact sheet ‘Gambling – managing your money’.