Whether it is buying a lotto ticket, placing a bet on a horse race or playing pokies, gambling involves making a risky wager with the hope of winning money. It also refers to the more formalised form of gambling where two or more parties agree on the terms and conditions for winning or losing, and what is to be won or lost (eg a prize).
The most common cause of gambling addiction is financial problems. The best way to tackle this is to limit your gambling spending, avoid betting on games you can’t afford and keep track of your bank balance. It is important to only gamble with disposable income, and never use money that needs to be saved for bills or rent.
It’s also important to consider your reasons for gambling. Many people find that it helps to relieve boredom, stress or anxiety, and can provide a sense of social connection. It’s important to seek alternative ways to cope with unpleasant feelings and alleviate boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or practicing relaxation techniques.
For those who struggle with gambling addiction, it is recommended to seek help and support. Try calling a friend or family member, getting involved in a community group such as Gamblers Anonymous, or seeing a therapist who specialises in gambling disorders. In addition, a number of organisations offer residential and inpatient treatment programs for those with severe gambling addictions.