Controlling Your Gambling


Whether it’s buying lottery or scratch-off tickets, placing a bet on sports events or playing the pokies, gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is determined at least partly by chance. In order to be considered a gamble, there must be consideration, risk, and a prize. Often, people confuse the term with casino games like roulette and blackjack, but even betting on office pools or buying tickets to a concert can be considered gambling.

Gambling is an addictive activity that can take your money, time and other things that are important to you. If you are struggling with problem gambling, seek help. Many people have lost not only their money but their families, friends and careers as a result of unhealthy gambling habits.

The psychological effects of gambling are rooted in complex psychological, behavioral and neurobiological factors. It is believed that some people, such as those with an underactive brain reward system, are genetically predisposed to thrill-seeking behaviours and impulsivity, which can lead to addiction and compulsive behavior. In addition, some gamblers are prone to depression, stress, and mood swings, which can further exacerbate their problem gambling behavior.

Moreover, gamblers can be affected by the lure of free drinks and food at casinos. They also may fall victim to the “gambler’s fallacy,” where they believe that they are due for a big win or can recoup their losses by continuing to gamble. Gambling can be a rewarding experience when it is done in moderation. However, it is essential to avoid letting it interfere with your daily life and to balance your gambling activities with other fun and relaxing hobbies.

A good way to control your gambling habit is to budget your money and stick to it. Only use money that you can afford to lose and make sure that it does not need to be saved or used for bills. This will help you focus on the enjoyment factor and minimize your chances of overspending.

It’s also a good idea to set a time limit for your gaming session and leave when it is over, regardless of whether you are winning or losing. Also, never chase your losses, as the more you try to recoup your money, the more you will likely lose in the long run.

If you find yourself gambling to cope with unpleasant feelings, it is important to learn healthier ways of relieving them. Consider trying exercise, spending time with non-gambling friends, or practicing relaxation techniques. You can also talk about your emotions with someone you trust or seek non-judgemental support from a GamCare helpline. It’s also a good idea to avoid gambling when you are depressed or upset, as this can lead to even bigger losses.