The Dangers of Gambling


Whether buying a lotto ticket, placing a bet on the horses, sports or using pokies, gambling involves risking money or something of value in return for the chance to win. It can be fun if it’s done in moderation but it’s important to understand how it works and the risks involved.

There are a number of key things that make gambling addictive and dangerous. For example, the design of gambling products is optimised to keep people gambling by providing them with small rewards frequently enough to override the large losses they will inevitably experience. This is known as the “variance-variance” effect and is a feature of all gambling games.

Gambling can also be psychologically rewarding by providing a feeling of control over an uncontrollable event. It can also be socially rewarding by allowing you to meet new people with similar interests. This is why many people use online casinos or visit land-based gambling establishments.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, it’s important to seek help. There are a number of ways to do this including talking to friends and family, seeking support from a professional, or joining a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous which is modelled on Alcoholics Anonymous. Alternatively, you can speak to a debt adviser at StepChange for free advice. It’s also important to address any financial issues that may be contributing to the problem. You can find out more about this here.