Gambling is the act of risking something of value (money or items) on an event that depends on chance, such as a roll of dice, spin of a roulette wheel, or outcome of a horse race. It can take many forms, including gambling on casino games, sports betting, or lottery games. Gambling can be fun and exciting, but it can also lead to serious problems for some people.

While many people can walk away from a game of poker or a spin of the slots without any major consequences, others find that they can’t resist the urge to gamble, and they become addicted to gambling. This type of addiction can have devastating effects on both a person’s personal and professional life.

People who are addicted to gambling may be unable to control their spending or hide their gambling activity from others. They may also be hesitant to seek help or admit that they have a problem. It’s important for family members to understand the signs of gambling addiction and learn how to provide support.

There are many ways to relieve unpleasant feelings without gambling. Some examples include exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, practicing relaxation techniques, or trying new hobbies. It is also helpful to learn to recognize when you are experiencing an urge to gamble and to use a healthy distraction. For example, you might consider calling a friend or going to a self-help group for families such as Gam-Anon.