How to Avoid Problem Gambling


Gambling involves risking something of value – money or items that you can’t replace – on an event where the outcome depends on chance. It can involve putting a bet on a football match, scratchcard or horse race, or buying lottery tickets or betting online. It can be fun, but it’s important to remember that you can also lose a lot of money.

It is important to never gamble with money that you need to pay bills or rent. Make a budget for how much you want to spend on gambling each week and stick to it. It is also a good idea to set a time limit and leave when you reach it, regardless of whether you are winning or losing.

Many people find that they gamble to try and self-soothe unpleasant emotions, relieve boredom or to socialise. However, there are healthier ways to do all of these things. You can try exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, or learning relaxation techniques.

Problem gambling can have serious consequences, including harming your physical and mental health, relationships with family and colleagues, work performance, and leaving you in debt. If you’re concerned that you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, it may help to seek professional advice. Counselling can help you understand your problems, consider options and solve them. You can find a counsellor online through StepChange. Their service is free, confidential and available 24/7.