How to Stop Gambling


Gambling is a popular pastime that can involve betting something of value on an event whose outcome is determined by chance. It’s been a part of virtually every society since prerecorded history, often incorporated into local customs and rites of passage. It can be considered a form of entertainment, but when it gets out of hand, it can cause serious financial and personal problems. There are many organisations that offer help, support and counselling to people who have a gambling problem and the families of those affected.

The first step to overcoming a gambling addiction is to recognise that there is a problem and accept that it’s causing harm to your life. Some people are reluctant to admit their addiction, even to themselves, and may lie to their friends and family in order to cover up the extent of their involvement. Others might become secretive and hide their money, spending more and more in a desperate bid to win back what they’ve lost.

There are a number of ways to help you stop gambling, from self-help guides and group therapy to more formal treatment programmes like GamCare’s face-to-face counselling, or the 12-step recovery programme Gamblers Anonymous based on Alcoholics Anonymous’ model. You can also try to build a strong support network, and find new hobbies that take your attention away from the urge to gamble.

You can learn a lot about yourself and your problem gambling by writing down what triggers the urge to bet, such as being around people who gamble, drinking, or thinking about past gambling experiences. You can then look for patterns and find coping strategies to manage these triggers. If your problem is severe, you might need professional help.

Most people who gamble do so for social reasons, such as enjoying a game of chance with friends, or because it adds enjoyment to a social occasion. A small proportion, however, become seriously involved in terms of the time and money invested, and continue gambling despite substantial negative social, family and financial consequences.

While there are a range of different gambling activities, most people gamble on sports events, such as football matches and horse races, or on games like poker, roulette and blackjack. Gambling is also a major global commercial activity, with the legal gambling market worth an estimated $10 trillion.

The history of gambling is a long and varied one, with both proponents and opponents. Regardless of the arguments, it is clear that gambling has powerful appeal, with some people making millions, and others suffering financial ruin and devastation. In the United States, a growing number of citizens are finding themselves entangled in a web of debt, owing to uncontrolled gambling habits. In addition, a growing number of states are considering measures to curb gambling. Whether it’s legal or not, this trend is alarming. The debate about gambling will likely continue in the years to come, with each side arguing for its own view of how best to regulate and control this complex and addictive activity.