Gambling is betting something of value on an event that is at least in part determined by chance with the hope of winning money or some other item of value. This definition is quite broad and includes activities that might not be obvious at first glance; for example, purchasing a lottery ticket or scratch-off game is a form of gambling. Aside from the obvious, like slot machines and horse races, gambling can also involve games of skill, such as card games or poker. Some examples of altered gambling equipment include shaved dice, loaded dice, mirror rings, and electronic sensors. Insurance is another type of gambling; a person pays a premium in order to gain the financial benefits of dying within a certain time, which is equivalent to placing a bet that one will win.

Understanding that a loved one is addicted to gambling can be difficult for many family members and friends. If the gambling is causing serious harm, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family. This may mean setting boundaries in how you manage your finances or even taking control of them completely. Educate yourself on the issue, and seek help from support groups or counseling services for people with addictions.

Addiction is tough to overcome, especially when it involves money or relationships. However, it is possible to break the cycle and reclaim your life. The biggest step is admitting that you have a problem. Having a therapist can help you navigate the process and understand your triggers. If you are struggling with a gambling disorder, consider contacting Talkspace for professional, licensed therapy. They can match you with a therapist in as little as 48 hours.