Gambling is an activity where you risk something of value (money, goods, etc) in order to win something else of value. This can include playing cards, dice games or roulette with friends in a private setting or gambling at casinos, races and sports events. Problematic gambling can also include online or mobile betting.

When you gamble, the brain releases dopamine, which is a neurological response that makes you feel excited. This response is useful if you want to learn a skill, such as shooting basketballs into a net, but it can be problematic when gambling becomes more about the money than the entertainment value. People who have a gambling addiction may not realise their behaviour is out of control and can hide how much they are spending or lie about their activities to avoid confrontation.

Some forms of gambling can be socially acceptable and do not cause harm, for example, placing an informal bet on a game of poker with friends in a home environment. However, if someone begins to lose control of their gambling and it is causing them distress, financial problems or family discord, counseling is available.

Counseling can help with understanding gambling and the underlying issues that may be driving the behaviour. It can also teach coping skills and provide advice on managing finances. It can be especially helpful for families of people with gambling disorders as it can help them set boundaries, manage expectations and build stronger relationships.