Gambling 101


Gambling is the risking of something valuable (such as money) on an event that is determined at least in part by chance. Hence, gambling requires three elements: consideration, risk, and a prize.

Behaviorally, many people gamble in the context of social interaction or to gain a sense of excitement. However, for some people it can be harmful or even an addiction.

In the most common form of gambling, a person places a bet on an outcome of a particular event (such as a roll of dice or a spin of a roulette wheel). They hope to win something of value in return for their wager.

The person’s wager must be placed before the event takes place. A bet cannot be taken back once it is placed.

Some forms of gambling may not be regulated by governments or laws and are conducted with materials that have a value but are not real money (such as marbles, Pogs or Magic: The Gathering). Games of chance may be organized by commercial establishments, such as casinos and racetracks, to make a profit by occupying an advantaged position in the game, by charging for the privilege of playing or by subtracting a certain proportion of the stakes on each play.

Those with gambling problems should seek help from professionals. Therapists can work with them to identify the factors that lead to harmful gambling, such as psychological disorders and conditions, coping styles and beliefs. They can also suggest alternatives to gambling.