Gambling is an activity in which you wager something of value on an event that is based partly on chance, such as a game of cards, a dice roll, or a lottery drawing. You can gamble for money or other items of value, such as merchandise or services. You can find gambling opportunities in many places, including casinos, lotteries, and online. Some gambling activities are legal in some countries, while others are not.
Gambling can be addictive. In fact, some people develop a serious problem with gambling that requires treatment. The most common symptom of gambling disorder is a significant loss of control over the activity, which can include: a desire to win more than you lose; lying to family members, friends, or therapists about how much you spend on gambling; using credit to fund gambling; stealing to fund gambling; putting relationships and financial security at risk; and making repeated attempts to stop the behavior but being unsuccessful.
The most important step in overcoming a gambling problem is admitting you have one. It takes courage and strength to do this, especially if you have lost a great deal of money and strained or broken relationships as a result of gambling. But, remember, you are not alone. Many other people have overcome this addiction and rebuilt their lives.
This article draws on data from the Baseline General Population Survey (BGPS) of Massachusetts, which uses address-based sampling to survey 9523 adults 18 years and older. Of those, 1535 reported gambling in the past year.