The act of betting something of value on an event with a random element where instances of strategy are discounted. It may include playing games like poker, blackjack, roulette and slot machines or wagering on events such as horse and greyhound races, football accumulators and elections. Gambling is not an activity to be undertaken lightly and can lead to serious consequences if it becomes a problem. These include financial hardship, family breakdown, addiction and even criminal activity.
For many, gambling is a form of entertainment and can provide an adrenaline rush when things go well. However, if you are gambling beyond your means or if you find yourself thinking about gambling when you are not supposed to, it is important to seek help.
There are several ways to treat gambling disorder, including psychotherapy (talk therapy with a trained mental health professional) and lifestyle changes. You can also seek support from family and friends or join a self-help group for gamblers, such as Gamblers Anonymous.
In addition, you can practice stress reduction techniques, seek financial counselling and make a plan for managing your money. If you have debts, consider reducing your spending by cutting back on non-essential expenses, getting rid of credit cards and putting someone else in charge of your finances. You can also close your online betting accounts and keep only a small amount of cash on you at all times to prevent gambling impulses.
It is possible to overcome gambling disorders, but it takes time and effort. You will need to develop a new mindset, learn healthier ways of relieving unpleasant feelings and replacing the rush you get from gambling with other activities. You can try exercising, relaxing with a friend who doesn’t gamble, taking up a hobby or going to social events. You can also try a variety of treatment options, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy or group therapy, to learn how to change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
While there is a wealth of gambling research focused on individual behaviour and addiction, there is a nascent corpus of research considering the role of socio-cultural and regulatory factors in gambling . This is particularly important given the dynamism of the gambling landscape, with governments around the world increasingly liberalising their policies and deregulating the industry to generate revenue for state operations. This has resulted in a proliferation of lottery, casino and sports betting offerings. This has had the effect of increasing access to and opportunities to gamble, while generating significant profits for the gaming industry and establishing gambling as a social norm.  Hence, harm reduction strategies should address both individual and socio-cultural influences on gambling-related harm.