Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that one will receive something of value in the event of a certain result. This includes but is not limited to: bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contract, such as the purchase or sale at a future date of securities and contracts of indemnity or guaranty; and legalized lotteries.
The etymology of the word ‘gambling’ is from the Latin “to chance”. This means that everything in life is up to luck and there is nothing a person can do to change this. However, some people are more prone to the gambler’s fallacy which leads them to believe that they have a better chance of winning than is actually true. This is because of a combination of factors, such as the die roll’s memory of past outcomes and the gambler’s illusory perception of their own competence.
Those with compulsive gambling experience intense urges to bet or wager money, despite the negative impacts on their life and those of their family and friends. Their behaviours can cause significant damage to their health and often lead to financial, emotional, social, work-related and legal problems. They often lie to their families, therapists and employers in order to conceal the extent of their involvement in gambling; they may also commit illegal acts or jeopardize relationships to fund gambling activities; and they often rely on others to relieve financial situations caused by gambling (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
A common treatment method for people with gambling problems is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy which can help someone to change the way they think about betting. It can also be used to help people with other addictions, such as alcohol and drugs.
Responsible gambling involves informed and confident players who choose the games they play wisely, and who play within their means. It also promotes awareness and sensitivity amongst players about the risks of gambling. It is a joint responsibility between governments, gambling operators, regulators, treatment centres and community groups. Responsible gambling can be achieved by a range of policies, initiatives and measures that support the development of an ethical and healthy gaming industry. It can also be encouraged by providing education, training and support for the industry and players. In addition, it requires a holistic approach to gambling that combines prevention and treatment and encompasses cultural and environmental changes. This can include the establishment of clear rules and codes of conduct, promoting good practice and raising public awareness about gambling. These changes can help to prevent the development of harmful behaviour and increase the likelihood of a safe, fair and transparent gambling environment. It is also important to provide funding for research into effective treatment methods.