What is Gambling?

Gambling is putting something of value, such as money or possessions, on the outcome of a random event that involves chance. It can include betting on a game of chance, playing a slot machine or placing a bet with friends. The element of risk and uncertainty is a fundamental part of gambling, and the fact that the odds are always against the gambler makes it an addictive activity.

Problem gambling affects people from all backgrounds, races and religions, regardless of education or income. It can start in childhood or adulthood, and it often runs in families. The most common risk factors include financial difficulties, trauma, depression and boredom. People with a gambling disorder can also experience family problems, work or social pressures and a sense of loss of control.

For some individuals, gambling is a way to be social with others or a distraction from other problems. The media may portray it as fun, sexy and glamorous, while the excitement and rush of winning can be addictive. Gambling can also be a way to escape from life, such as during a vacation, when you are bored or when you’re having a difficult time.

If you’re concerned about yourself or someone you know, don’t wait to get help. There are many programs and resources that can provide support and treatment, including CAPS, AcademicLiveCare and the CURCRC. For more information, call or go to a Let’s Talk session. Be sure to only gamble with money you can afford to lose, and never with money you need to pay bills or rent.