A form of wagering whereby something of value (money, merchandise or services) is placed on an event that is at least partly determined by chance with the hope of winning something else of value. Games of chance that may be considered gambling include lotteries, poker, bingo, and scratch-off tickets as well as video games such as slots, blackjack and keno.
Gambling is an important global industry and a significant source of revenue in many countries. Legalized gambling operations include casinos, horse racetracks, and lottery companies. Online betting on sports events and games is also common, as is placing bets on horse races and other sporting events through telephone and satellite systems.
There is no FDA-approved medication to treat gambling disorder, but psychotherapy can help. Behavioral therapy can teach people new ways to handle stress and find other activities to spend their time. It can also address any other mental health conditions that may be contributing to problem gambling behaviors.
In addition, it is sometimes useful to use longitudinal studies (data collected over time) to identify factors that moderate or exacerbate gambling participation. These types of studies are more cost-efficient and allow for the identification of causality, which is difficult to accomplish with cross-sectional data.
It is possible that biological factors, such as an underactive reward system in the brain, may contribute to a person’s risk of developing a gambling problem. Research also suggests that some people are genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behavior and impulsivity.
Cultural factors can also play a role in someone’s ability to recognize a gambling problem or seek treatment. For example, some cultures regard gambling as a normal pastime and may not consider it a problem unless there is an underlying issue such as depression or anxiety.
Managing gambling addiction requires support from family and friends, as well as from professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists. It is also helpful to join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which uses the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous to help people recover from gambling addiction. Several states have gambling helplines and other resources for people who need assistance. Family therapy and marriage and credit counseling can also be beneficial in helping a person overcome problem gambling behavior. These services can help a person repair damaged relationships and finances and create healthy boundaries in their lives.