Gambling is the wagering of something of value (such as money or possessions) on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. It is a common activity for recreational and professional gamblers, but it can also have harmful effects on family, relationships, work or study performance, and credit. Pathological gambling is a specific form of gambling disorder, and it has been associated with substance use disorders, depression, and anxiety.
Although the exact legal definition of gambling may vary from country to country, it is generally considered that a person engages in gambling if they risk something of value upon an outcome of a game of chance or on a speculative activity with some element of skill and knowledge, such as playing card or board games for small amounts with friends, betting on horse or greyhound races or football accumulators or purchasing lottery tickets. In the broader sense, the stock market is also a form of gambling, as are investment strategies, and even life insurance is considered a type of gambling since the premium paid to purchase an insurance policy is essentially a bet that one will die within a specified period of time.
Many people who have a problem with gambling find relief through counseling. A therapist can help someone understand their addiction, identify triggers, and consider options for change. Support groups like Gamblers Anonymous can also be beneficial, as can family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling.