Pathological Gambling



Gambling is an activity in which people risk money or other valuables on a random event with the intent of winning. It can take many forms, including lotteries, casino games, and betting on sports or events. Often, gambling involves skill, as in card games where knowledge of strategy can increase one’s chances of winning, or as in the case of insurance policies where an individual can choose a policy based on actuarial analysis of probabilities. While some forms of gambling are regulated and subject to formal rules and oversight, much gambling is unregulated. Many individuals participate in informal social gambling activities such as office pool betting for sports and reality TV shows.

Although most people do not experience problems with gambling, some do develop a problem and can suffer adverse consequences. This has led to changes in the way that we view pathological gambling and its effects on an individual’s life. Today, we no longer view people who have trouble with gambling as a “problem gambler,” but rather as someone who has a psychological problem affecting their ability to control impulses and cope with life stressors.

A number of different factors are involved in the development of a gambling addiction. These include an early big win, boredom susceptibility, impulsivity, a poor understanding of the odds of winning and losing, use of escape coping and a variety of other personal or interpersonal difficulties. Gambling can also be used to meet basic human needs such as a desire for status and a sense of belonging.