The Dangers of Gambling
Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value, often money, on an event with an uncertain outcome. It can be done in many forms, from buying lottery tickets to placing a bet on the horse race or sports match. It is generally considered a harmless activity, but there are serious risks associated with gambling that can cause harm. Some people gamble for social reasons, to make friends or to have fun, while others do it for financial reasons, wishing to win the jackpot and change their lives.
Problem gambling can be a difficult addiction to break, especially when it has damaged relationships and strained finances. However, there are resources available to help those who have a gambling disorder. The first step is to admit that you have a problem and seek help. Many people have been able to overcome their gambling addiction and rebuild their lives, repairing relationships and regaining control of their finances.
Despite the common misconception, gambling is not a way to get rich fast. In fact, most people who gamble lose money over time. Even professional gamblers, who make a living from their betting activities, have to face losses as well as wins. However, some people may not recognize when their gambling has become a problem. They may try to hide or minimise their gambling behaviour, lying about how much they have won or spent. Other warning signs include becoming tense or irritable when thinking about gambling, hiding evidence of their gambling, or lying to family members and friends about how much time they spend on it.
To reduce the chances of gambling problems, it is important to set limits. Only gamble with money that you can afford to lose and only for a limited amount of time. This way, you can avoid chasing your losses and prevent yourself from getting into debt. It is also a good idea to avoid gambling venues and TABs, which can be distracting. Instead, spend your leisure time with friends or on hobbies that don’t involve gambling.
Another way to keep your gambling in check is to budget it into your weekly entertainment expenses. This will help you to recognise when you are spending too much money on it. Also, don’t gamble with credit cards or take out loans. Rather than using this form of payment, use cash. Also, be careful not to fall for the “gambler’s fallacy,” where you think you are due to hit the jackpot and recoup your lost money. For more tips, see the Better Health Channel fact sheet ‘Gambling – controlling your money’.