Gambling is an activity that involves putting something of value (money, property or other assets) at risk in the hope of winning more than is lost. It can involve a variety of games, activities and events such as fruit machines, card games, horse racing, football accumulators and scratchcards. Gambling usually has a random element, although some skills such as learning playing strategies in card games and knowledge of horses and jockeys may reduce the odds of winning in certain gambling activities.

Like any addiction, gambling can be challenging to overcome. It’s important to recognise the triggers and find healthy ways to cope, such as spending time with friends who don’t gamble, exercising or practicing relaxation techniques. It’s also important to address any underlying mood disorders such as depression, anxiety or stress that can make people more vulnerable to harmful gambling behaviour.

It’s important to set money and time limits for gambling. Never gamble with more than you can afford to lose and stop as soon as you hit those limits. It’s also helpful to seek peer support, such as from a group like Gamblers Anonymous or finding a’sponsor’ who has experience of staying free from gambling addiction and can offer guidance. It’s also worth considering seeking professional help from a counsellor or psychiatrist who specialises in gambling addiction. They can use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to examine your beliefs around betting and how you feel when you gamble. This can help you identify and challenge your distorted thinking patterns that might be contributing to gambling addiction.