The Dangers of Gambling


Gambling involves betting money or material things on an uncertain event, like the roll of a dice, the spin of a roulette wheel, or the outcome of a horse race. It can be a recreational activity, or it can involve serious addiction.

People gamble for a variety of reasons, such as the desire to win money, socialisation or escape from stress. However, for some people gambling becomes a harmful habit that can affect their health and wellbeing, family, friends and work performance. It can also leave them in debt and struggling to manage their finances. In extreme cases, it can lead to suicide or thoughts of suicide.

It is not known exactly why some people develop a problem with gambling. However, the behaviour can be triggered by genetic predispositions and changes in brain chemical messages, which can trigger a ‘reward’ or a ‘compulsion’ response. It is also believed that people are more prone to gambling problems if they have experienced stressful life events and have a low self-esteem.

The urge to gamble can be relieved by learning healthier coping strategies, such as seeking support from friends or family who do not gamble, taking up new hobbies, exercise and reducing the amount of time spent on video and mobile games that involve micro-transactions and payments. In addition, people can find relief from unpleasant feelings by talking to a counsellor, or by using alternative methods such as acupuncture and massage. People who have a gambling disorder should also seek help from their local services.