Gambling is a popular pastime that involves betting on an event with the hope of winning. It includes activities such as lotteries, state-licensed casinos, riverboat casinos, bingo, pari-mutuel gambling, offtrack betting and sports betting. It is estimated that worldwide, legal gambling generates over $10 trillion in annual turnover (though illegal gambling may exceed this amount).

Gambling has both negative and positive impacts. Negative effects include problems with family, friends and work. They also include harm to health, financial difficulties and criminal convictions. Positive effects include entertainment, relaxation and social interaction. Some people use gambling to cope with challenging life events, such as job loss or the death of a loved one. They also find it rewarding and a source of excitement.

Some people may not recognize the signs of problem gambling and may underestimate the harm it causes. They may try to hide their activity and lie about it. Problem gamblers may also experience stress and depression, and some even commit suicide.

It is important for family and friends to provide support for a person struggling with a gambling addiction. They should help them develop other ways of coping with distress and reward themselves in a healthy way, such as exercise or hobbies. They should also set clear boundaries around money management. Some families have found it helpful to seek professional therapy and marriage, career or credit counselling. This can help them to work through the specific issues that have been created by the gambling addiction and lay the foundation for repairing relationships and finances.