Gambling involves risking something of value, such as money, on an event with a chance of winning. It can happen in a casino, at a racetrack or on the pokies (Australian slot machines). People also gamble on games of skill, such as sports events and card games. The risks of gambling can include a variety of negative consequences, including financial problems, health issues, family conflicts, stress, social isolation and even suicide.
Some of the most common reasons that people start gambling include:
Using money or other assets to gamble can lead to financial problems. This can result in bills not getting paid, credit cards being maxed out and debts mounting up – often leading to pay day loans or borrowing from friends or family. Some people even end up stealing to fund their gambling habits, which can lead to serious legal problems.
Many people who become addicted to gambling experience a range of feelings including anxiety, guilt, regret and stress. These emotions can cause relationship issues and can be very difficult to deal with. Gambling can also lead to a sense of powerlessness. People may feel that they have lost control over their money or life. This can be very distressing for family and friends who are trying to help them.
People who are vulnerable to developing a gambling problem include young people and those from low income backgrounds. They are more likely to engage in risky behaviours, like gambling, and less able to cope with their losses. They are also more likely to be influenced by peer groups who are gambling, and they may find it difficult to recognise that they have a gambling problem.
In addition, people who are addicted to gambling are more likely to be involved in illegal activities, such as drug use and robbery, and they are at higher risk of suicide. This is because they can be depressed and feel trapped by their addiction. It is important for those who are concerned about a loved one’s gambling to seek support and advice.
If you are worried about a friend or family member’s gambling, there are things you can do to help them break the habit. These include: