The Dangers of Gambling

Gambling is the wagering of something of value, usually money, on an event whose outcome depends on chance. It includes betting on sports, horse races, lotteries and scratchcard games. In order to be considered gambling, the elements of consideration, risk and a prize must all be present.

Despite its darker side, many people still gamble for fun, and it can be a great group activity. But it’s important to remember that gambling can cause harm. And it’s not just about losing money – it can affect self-esteem, relationships and even your physical and mental health.

The good news is that many organisations offer support, assistance and counselling for anyone who needs help. So if you think your gambling is causing you or someone you know harm, there’s plenty of help out there.

The vast majority of people who gamble do so without problems. However, a small proportion develop a problem with gambling that could lead to an addiction. This is known as gambling disorder, and it is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s important to recognise the signs of a gambling problem so you can seek help and support if needed. Often, the first sign of a gambling problem is hiding evidence of your gambling behaviour or lying about it to other people. This can also lead to financial difficulties and employment impacts. The main harms from gambling include emotional stress, relationship problems and reduced work performance.

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