Gambling involves putting something of value (usually money) at risk on an event with an element of chance. People gamble for a variety of reasons: socialising, getting an adrenaline rush, to make money or escape from worries and stress. However, for some people gambling can become an addictive problem. People with a mental health problem are more likely to develop harmful gambling. People with low incomes are also more vulnerable to gambling problems, especially men and young people. Some people can even get to the point where their gambling reaches crisis levels, threatening their physical or mental health.
Betting companies promote their wares on TV, social media and via wall-to-wall sponsorship of football clubs. But the key to their success isn’t just to remind you of how good a drink tastes, it’s about persuading you that you might win some money. This is similar to the way that insurance companies use actuarial methods to set their premiums, ensuring they get a long term positive expected return on their investments.
If you’re concerned about your own gambling, it’s important to seek help and advice as soon as possible. You can seek treatment, or join support groups, like Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step programme of recovery based on Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also try re-establishing your support network and taking steps to separate yourself from the temptation of gambling, such as by letting someone else be in charge of your money or closing online betting accounts.