Controlling Gambling


Gambling is the act of wagering something of value on an event that is based on chance, where instances of skill are discounted. It can include betting with real money, or with materials such as marbles, pogs (small discs) or collectable trading cards. Gambling also includes lottery games, commercial card games and some forms of online gaming.

People gamble to win money, and some do so successfully, but others become addicted. In some cases this can lead to significant financial problems, and in the worst cases, even suicide. The reason for this is that gambling can trigger a range of psychological issues, including impulsivity, poor understanding of random events and the use of escape coping mechanisms. It can also be a form of substance abuse, as evidenced by the fact that pathological gambling is now classified as an addiction in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Many people think they can control their gambling behaviour by using different strategies or systems. These might involve wearing lucky clothing, throwing dice in a particular way or sitting in a certain position. However, human beings are naturally inclined to feel in control, and this desire can often be used by casinos and online operators to lure people into spending more than they can afford. The result is that the person ends up chasing losses, which only leads to more and more stress.

Aside from the desire to control gambling, there are several reasons why some people start to develop a problem. These might include a genetic predisposition, alterations in brain chemical messages and other factors such as boredom susceptibility, a lack of social support, a desire to feel special or superior, or stressful life experiences.

The key to controlling gambling is to set limits on how much you will be willing to spend, and when you will stop playing. It is also important to set aside time for other activities, and avoid relying on gambling as your main source of entertainment. In addition, you should never gamble if you are feeling stressed or depressed, as this may increase your chances of making a poor decision.

If you are worried that your gambling is becoming out of hand, the first thing to do is to talk about it with someone. You might find it helpful to visit a CAPS counselor, or schedule an AcademicLiveCare appointment with a counseling or psychiatry provider. You can also get support from family and friends. If you are not comfortable talking about it, there are many organisations that provide support and assistance for gambling addiction. These services can help you regain control of your gambling, and can also help you to understand the effect it is having on your family and friends. You can find out more about these services by visiting our Gambling Resource page. You can also sign up for our Gambling and Your Mental Health email newsletter to receive the latest news, articles and resources on this topic straight into your inbox.