Gambling involves risking something of value (usually money) on an event that is determined at least in part by chance with the hope of gaining something of equal value. While many people associate gambling with casinos and slot machines, the fact is that betting on football matches, buying lottery or scratchcard tickets, playing bingo and even office pools are all forms of gambling.
Problem gambling is characterized by an excessive or prolonged involvement in gambling activity that negatively impacts other areas of your life such as work, relationships, finances and health. It also includes a pattern of behavior that is often difficult to stop.
There are a number of things you can do to help overcome your gambling addiction, including getting support and seeking treatment. The first step is recognizing that you have a problem. Many people find it hard to admit that they have a gambling addiction, especially if it has caused them to lose a lot of money and strain or even break their relationships.
It is important to set a limit for the amount of money you are willing to spend on gambling and stick to it. This will prevent you from losing more than you can afford to lose and make it easier to walk away from the game when you have lost more than you intended to. It is also helpful to avoid chasing your losses – this means thinking that you will be lucky again soon and recouping the money you have lost.