Gambling is when you risk something of value on an event that is based on chance, such as betting on a football match or playing a scratchcard. If you win the event, you receive a prize – usually money. If you lose the event, you lose your stake (the amount of money you have put on a bet).
People gamble for different reasons, and some people get hooked. When this happens, it’s called problem gambling or gambling addiction. It can affect your mental health, relationships and work. It’s important to recognise the signs of a gambling problem, and to seek help.
Whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, placing a bet on the horses or using the pokies, everyone has gambled at some time. If it’s a regular activity for you, it should be part of your weekly entertainment budget and not your phone bill or rent. Remember to set limits in advance, and never chase your losses.
Gambling can also be a great way to socialise and meet like-minded friends. Skill-based games encourage you to develop tactics and sharpen your math skills. Plus, winning money gives you a dopamine rush.
Some people are more likely to gamble than others, including people with a history of mental illness, those in financial crisis and those who don’t have a secure job or housing. If you’re worried about how gambling is affecting your life, speak to one of our counsellors – it’s free and confidential.