Reduce Your Risk of Gambling and Protect Yourself From Gambling Harm

Gambling is any type of game in which you stake something of value in exchange for a chance to win. This is not limited to games of skill and luck; it also includes wagering on sports events, TV shows, and even horse races or football accumulators. While it may be tempting to gamble away your hard-earned money for a shot at winning a big jackpot, you should always remember that gambling is a dangerous activity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of addiction and protect yourself from gambling harm.

Gambling occurs in many places, including casinos, racetracks, and online. It can also be conducted with materials that have a value, such as marbles or collectible trading cards (e.g., Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering). Some people gamble in order to relieve unpleasant emotions or to socialize with friends, while others do it simply because they enjoy the thrill of the game.

Problem gambling is a serious mental health issue that can have devastating consequences for the gambler and their family. It is also highly likely to lead to substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. This type of gambling behavior can be present in any age group, from adolescence to older adulthood. It can be triggered by trauma, social inequality, or mental illness, and it often runs in families.

The most common symptoms of problem gambling include thinking about it all the time, lying to friends and family, hiding evidence of betting, and spending more and more time on gambling. The disorder can have a negative impact on your life and career, and it can cause emotional distress, health problems, and financial difficulties. It is important to seek help if you have these symptoms.

If you have a friend or family member with problem gambling, it’s important to set boundaries around money management. For example, you should not lend them any money or allow them to use your credit card to place bets. In addition, you should not allow them to gamble with any money that is meant for other expenses, such as bills or groceries.

You can also try to reduce the urge to gamble by practicing healthy self-care and finding healthier ways to relieve boredom or negative moods. Consider exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or learning relaxation techniques.

Some people may feel that they have a gambling problem, but are not sure if it’s serious or not. Depending on the severity of your situation, you may want to consider counseling or therapy. These are proven treatment methods for compulsive gambling and can help you overcome your addiction. You can find a therapist in your area by searching our database or using our Find a Therapist tool. If you need immediate assistance, call a crisis hotline or visit a gambling recovery center. In the United States, a hotline is available at 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2947). You can also contact your local addiction services provider or search our database of recovery centers.