Gambling is a popular pastime for many people. But for some, it can have harmful effects on their physical and mental health, their relationships with family and friends, their work and study performance, and their finances. Problem gambling can even lead to debt and homelessness. If you or someone you know is experiencing these problems, there is help available.
A gambling activity is any stake of something of value on an event involving chance. This includes betting on sports events, playing card games for money, buying lottery tickets, and engaging in friendly wagers on game outcomes (e.g., who will win a football match). It does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, such as insurance and guaranty contracts and agreements to compensate for losses caused by chance, including contracts of indemnity or a guarantee of quality.
Despite a long history of popularity, gambling has also been a subject of intense social and legal debate and has been suppressed by laws in many areas. Nevertheless, in recent years there has been a softening of attitudes towards gambling and a relaxation of laws against it. For some, this has been a result of a change in perceptions about what is an addiction and a recognition that compulsive gambling shares features with other impulse control disorders such as trichotillomania and bulimia. Furthermore, research suggests that reclassifying gambling as an addictive disorder may lead to improved treatment options and greater prevention efforts.