Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Gambling


Gambling is the wagering of something of value (the stakes) on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value (the prize), where instances of strategy are discounted. It is a major international commercial activity, occurring in many forms, from games of chance like roulette or blackjack to sports wagering and horse racing. In addition to its entertainment and profit potential, gambling also serves as a way to socialize and relieve stress. However, when a person’s gambling becomes problematic, it can cause serious harm to their health and personal relationships. This page is designed to provide answers to frequently asked questions about gambling, including what it is and how it works, the effects of gambling on the brain, and how to get help for a problem gambler.

Gambling happens when you risk money or other things of value in hopes of predicting the outcome of a game based on chance, such as a slot machine, scratchcard or betting with friends. If you are right, you win the money you wagered. But if you are wrong, you lose the money you put up. Gambling can happen in casinos, racetracks, gas stations, church halls, and even at sporting events or on the Internet. It can also occur with materials that have a monetary value but are not real money, such as marbles or collectible trading cards.

Many people who suffer from a gambling disorder can be helped through counseling or other treatment. Counseling can help you examine how your problems with gambling affect your family, friends and other aspects of your life. It can also teach you skills to handle your gambling problems and make healthy decisions.

In addition to individual counseling, there are several support groups available for people with gambling problems. Some are peer-led and modelled after Alcoholics Anonymous, and others are led by professionals such as psychologists or counselors. Often, these groups can provide a safe place for people to discuss their problems with others who have similar issues.

Having a problem with gambling can be very difficult to admit, especially if it has caused financial ruin and strained or broken relationships. But recognizing you have a gambling problem is the first step to recovery. After that, you can take steps to reduce your gambling by getting rid of credit cards, putting someone else in charge of your finances, closing online betting accounts and keeping only a small amount of cash on hand.

If you have a gambling problem, it is important to get help as soon as possible. A good place to start is by talking with a therapist who specializes in treating gambling disorders. BetterHelp can match you with a therapist who has experience treating gambling disorder, as well as other mental health problems. Start by taking our assessment and getting matched in as little as 48 hours. Depending on your needs, you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy or other types of counseling.