Gambling is an activity in which you risk something of value in the hope of gaining a prize. This could be money, property or your time. People gamble for a variety of reasons, such as the thrill of winning, socialising or escaping from problems such as depression and anxiety. However, for some, gambling can become problematic and cause harm. It is important to recognise when your gambling is causing you distress and seek help.
It is thought that certain individuals are more at risk of developing a gambling problem than others. These include people with underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and substance misuse. They may also be more susceptible to gambling if they experience financial problems such as debt or unemployment. People living in areas where there are many casinos or where gambling is more common, are also at greater risk of developing a gambling problem.
In the past, it was believed that gambling was an addictive behaviour in the same way as drugs, but this has now been disproved. However, scientists do believe that if you are genetically predisposed to risk-taking behaviour and impulsivity it can increase your chances of gambling addiction.
There are a number of things that can trigger a gambling addiction, including the environment in which you are gambling, your social network and how easy it is to access gambling products. Many of these factors are out of your control, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
If you are concerned about gambling, speak to one of our counsellors for free, confidential debt advice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people were working from home. This was due to safety concerns and the need for businesses to keep their employees as healthy as possible. Sadly, this has led to many workers losing their sense of purpose and turning to online gambling as a form of entertainment and emotional escapism. This has caused a rise in gambling-related workplace stress and is a growing concern for employers.
People who are addicted to gambling are more likely to be lonely and isolated, which can make it harder for them to ask for help. In addition, some cultures see gambling as a normal part of life and therefore it can be difficult to recognise a problem. It can be especially challenging for family members if someone in their family has a gambling problem.
The secret to successful gambling is money management. Decide before you enter a casino how much you can afford to lose and stick to it. Never use credit to gamble and avoid chasing your losses, as this can only lead to more financial harm.
The best times to gamble are mid-week when the casinos are less busy. Remember that the casinos are in business to make a profit, so don’t be tempted by the free cocktails or think you can just win them back. Also avoid betting when you are feeling depressed, upset or stressed, as these emotions can lead to bad decisions.