Gambling can be an enjoyable, social activity and a means of coping with boredom or stress. However, it is important to understand the risk involved and when to stop. Most people indulge in gambling at one time or another. Gambling is an activity that should be viewed as one of many forms of entertainment.

Although compulsive gambling is more common in young people, it can also affect older adults. Gambling is also more common in men than women, although it is not strictly gender-specific. For example, adults may skip work or school to indulge in the activity, while adolescents may wager pocket money, an iPod, or a video game console.

Gambling can destroy families and individuals. It is also often addictive, leading to compulsive behavior. Compulsive gambling has been linked to increased levels of local crime. In Iowa, compulsive gambling rates increased from 1.7 percent to 5.4 percent after legalization. As a result, legalized gambling can exacerbate local crime rates and lead to a significant economic impact on a community.

Children are also susceptible to gambling. Although gambling is largely based on chance, some forms of gambling look like games or apps that involve skill, which can lead some young people to believe that they are winning. Gambling can also lead to alienation from family members. Teenagers can seek help from their GP or psychologist, or by calling the Gambling Helpline. There are also support groups for teenagers online, which can offer guidance and advice.