Gambling Addiction – How to Gamble Responsibly


Gambling is when you bet something of value, like money or a prize, on an outcome that depends on chance, such as a game of cards or a scratchcard. If you predict the outcome correctly, you win money. If you lose, you lose the money that you invested. Gambling can take many forms, from social gambling such as playing card games with friends for small amounts of money or betting on sports events with colleagues to commercial gambling at casinos and online. There are also self-help support groups for problem gamblers, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows a 12-step program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous.

There are several factors that can contribute to gambling addiction, including genetic predisposition and a tendency to engage in risk-taking behaviours. Psychological and sociological factors can also affect gambling addiction. These include the tendency to over-generalise past outcomes and the propensity for a person to seek out situations in which they can be emotionally stimulated. People may also be more sensitive to losses than to gains of equal value. This can lead them to spend more time and money trying to ‘win back’ a previous loss than they would on a new win, thus creating a vicious cycle. People are also prone to illusions of control, believing that their skill or luck can influence the outcome of a particular event.

Research has shown that a person’s ability to gamble responsibly decreases with age. This is because the prefrontal cortex of the brain becomes less active as a person matures, and this can interfere with impulse control. However, it is important to note that not all older adults are at risk of becoming addicted to gambling. In fact, the majority of people who gamble responsibly do not become addicted at all.

A key aspect of a person’s ability to gamble responsibly is their emotional well-being. Emotional problems can cause a person to be more likely to gamble and to bet larger amounts of money. This is because these problems can result in feelings of shame and guilt, which can be a strong trigger for the desire to win money.

Another aspect of a person’s ability to gambling responsibly is their financial stability. This is because it is important to be able to distinguish between income and expenditures. If you are worried about a loved one’s gambling habits, we recommend that you talk to them about it. It is also a good idea to create a budget for yourself and stick to it. In addition, you should consider removing your credit and debit card information from your computer or phone so that you cannot accidentally use them for gambling purposes.

If you are concerned about your own or a colleague’s gambling behaviour, the CUCRC offers a wide range of programs and services to help, including counseling, psychiatry and AcademicLiveCare, which allows students, staff and faculty to schedule virtual sessions with counselors and psychiatrists. You can also find peer support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous and a National Helpline.