Gambling is when people pay something of value to predict the outcome of a game of chance, like buying a lottery ticket or betting on sports events. If they predict the outcome correctly they win money, but if they’re wrong they lose it. It can be a fun and entertaining activity, but it’s important to understand the risks of gambling so you can make informed decisions. If you think you or someone you know has a problem with gambling it’s important to seek help. Counselling can help you understand the root causes of the problem and think about your options for changing it.

If you’re struggling to stop gambling, consider reducing the amount you gamble, talking to a trusted friend or family member, or going to a support group for gamblers like Gamblers Anonymous. Getting rid of credit cards and using cash instead is another good way to reduce temptation. Also, if you have debt, it’s a good idea to speak to StepChange for free and confidential advice.

Gambling is a complex and nuanced issue with many different reasons for it being problematic, including mental health issues, financial problems and social inequality. It’s also an extremely addictive activity, with many people unable to control their behaviour. However, there is hope: research has shown that gambling disorders can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It’s also important to remember that gambling is often a ‘hidden cost’ – you might not realise how much you spend on it until you see the balance in your bank account.