Gambling is the wagering of something of value on a random event, with the intent of winning something else of value (i.e., a prize), where instances of strategy are discounted. It is a form of risk-taking that involves an element of uncertainty and can be both positive and negative.
Gambling can take a variety of forms including, but not limited to, betting on sports events, playing card or board games for money, buying lottery tickets, participating in a poker game or keno, or playing the slot machines. Gambling can also be more formalized through a contract between two or more parties to predict the outcome of an event and agree on a stake for the bet – whether it be monetary or non-monetary.
A gambling addiction can be difficult to overcome but it is possible. Behavioral therapy can teach you to resist your urges and develop healthier, more productive ways to cope with unpleasant feelings. For example, you may learn to confront your irrational beliefs that a string of losses signifies an imminent win, or that you can recover lost funds by returning another day (“chasing”).
One way to reduce your chances of developing a gambling addiction is to strengthen your support network. Ensure that you spend time with friends who don’t gamble and find other ways to relax or socialize, such as exercise, joining a book club, or enrolling in an educational class. You can also join a peer support group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is modelled after Alcoholics Anonymous and offers guidance and encouragement for those struggling with gambling addiction.