Gambling is the placing of something of value (usually money) on an event with an element of chance and with the intention to win a prize. It includes activities such as card games, dice, video poker machines, slot machines, bingo, instant scratch cards, horse or dog races, sports events and even a game of marbles. It does not include bona fide business transactions such as contracts of indemnity or guaranty, purchases of securities and commodities, life, health or accident insurance or loans secured by collateral.
The act of gambling can be a very dangerous and harmful addiction. It can affect all aspects of a person’s life including their work, relationships and finances. There is a wide range of treatment options available for those struggling with this problem. Those who are severely addicted may need to consider inpatient or residential treatment programs which offer round the clock support.
Research has been conducted on both the psychological and social aspects of gambling. At the individual level, research has looked at experimental tests of people’s propensity to take risks and to make “non-rational” gambles and on how they respond to the structure and presentation of different types of games. More recently, there has been some research on the effects of legalization and other socioeconomic factors on gambling behaviour.
More importantly, there has been a growing body of literature on the harm caused by gambling. This has included studies of the impact on society and individuals, as well as a number of specific measures of harm such as a person’s use of credit cards or other financial devices, their lying to others about gambling and whether they have jeopardized or lost a job, relationship or educational opportunity.
There is also a growing body of evidence that the prevalence of gambling problems is rising and that there are significant health costs associated with this issue. These costs can be in the form of increased medical, legal and other expenses or as a result of reduced productivity and loss of personal wealth.
The first step towards recovery from gambling is acknowledging that you have a problem. This is often a difficult step to take especially when you’ve been living with the addiction for a long time or have experienced damage to your relationships, work or family as a result of your gambling. If you are ready to take that first step, get matched with a trained counsellor today. Our service is free, confidential and available 24/7.