Gambling is the wagering of something of value (including money, property, or services) upon an uncertain event the outcome of which depends on chance. It is a behavior that may be regulated by law. It excludes business transactions based on the law of contracts, such as the purchase of stock or securities, and insurance contracts, including life, health, and casualty policies.
Problematic gambling changes the reward pathways in your brain and can be addictive. It can also cause long term financial, physical, emotional and social harms.
When you gamble, your brain releases dopamine in response to the positive outcome of a game. This reward encourages you to try to repeat the positive experience, but this becomes problematic when your losses exceed your wins and you continue to gamble. This is known as chasing your losses and can lead to serious financial problems.
It’s possible to get help for your gambling problems if you know how to ask for it. Many organisations offer support, advice and counselling to people who are affected by harmful gambling or have lost control of their finances as a result of it.
People with gambling addiction are more likely to suffer from other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. These conditions can make it more difficult to recognise that your gambling is causing you harm or to seek help. This is because the symptoms of these conditions can mask your gambling behaviour. For example, you might start lying to your therapist or family about how much you’re spending on gambling.