Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value on an event involving chance, such as a football match or buying a scratchcard. The winnings can range from a small amount to a life-changing jackpot. Some people gamble for social reasons, others do it for fun and excitement or because it increases their self-esteem. However, gambling can have serious consequences for individuals and society as a whole.

Those with a problem with gambling may be hiding their habit, lying to family members and therapists, or even stealing in order to fund their addiction. They might also have strained or broken relationships as a result of the gambling. They might also feel shame or guilt about their problem and believe they are the only one with a gambling disorder.

Some studies have explored the negative effects of gambling on individuals and society as a whole, while other research has focused solely on economic impacts. To assess the true costs and benefits of gambling, researchers should use a public health approach that measures both financial and non-financial impacts on personal, interpersonal, and societal levels.

If you have a loved one with a gambling problem, consider seeking help for yourself and them. There are a variety of therapy services available, including psychodynamic, group, and marital/family therapies. These can help you understand why your loved one gambles, and work through the specific issues caused by their gambling behavior. It’s also important to set boundaries around finances, and never let them use your credit card or rent money for gambling.