Whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, betting on a horse race or putting money down on a pokie, gambling is an activity where you risk something of value to try and predict the outcome of a game involving chance. You win if you predict correctly, and lose if you don’t.
People gamble for fun and excitement, and to feel a rush when they’re lucky. But some people find it hard to stop, leading to harmful effects like debt and addiction.
Problem gambling can affect anyone, but it’s especially difficult for women and young people. It can also occur if you’re dealing with other mood or behaviour disorders, such as depression or suicidal thoughts.
Gambling is a dangerous hobby and it’s important to learn more about how it works to keep it in check. The articles below will help you understand why gamblers gamble, how gambling harms people, and what you can do to change your behaviour.
A gambling habit is an addictive behaviour that causes a person to bet more than they can afford to lose. It’s a common addiction that can cause many different problems, including debt, family and relationship issues and loss of job and career. The best way to overcome a gambling addiction is to seek treatment. This may include attending an addiction treatment centre or self-help programs such as Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program based on Alcoholics Anonymous.
How gambling harms people
Gambling harms people by stealing their time, money and even their health. It can lead to financial difficulties, debt and bankruptcy, as well as depression, anxiety and suicide. Changing your gambling habits is the only way to reduce the risks of harm.
How gambling is designed
Gamblers are exposed to a variety of gambling products and environments, and many are optimised for their addictive potential. For example, slots are often placed near cash registers to maximise impulse buys, and casinos are famous for lacking clocks or windows to prevent players from realizing how much time they’re spending there.
Another key factor in gambling design is rewarding the player – or, in this case, the gambler – with frequent small wins. This is a classic psychological trick to create the illusion of control over an uncontrollable outcome, and it’s very similar to how video games reward players to keep them playing.
It’s important to realise that gambling isn’t a healthy way to spend your time or money, and you should only gamble with money you can afford to lose. Set a money and time limit before you start, and stick to it. Never chase your losses – the more you bet in an attempt to win back your lost money, the more likely you are to lose more. And never gamble when you’re depressed, upset or in pain – it can make it harder to make good decisions. It’s also important to surround yourself with supportive people and engage in other activities that are fun and rewarding.