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Gambling is a social activity in which participants place a bet on a game, match or event. Usually the outcome of a gamble is dependent on ‘odds’, or probability, that the betting company sets.

Historically gambling has been viewed as a harmless, fun social activity. However, recent evidence suggests that gambling can have negative impacts on the lives of those who participate in it.

A gambling problem can impact on relationships, career and finances, so it is important to seek help if you think you or a loved one might have a gambling problem. Treatment can include counselling, family therapy and other forms of support.

It can also be helpful to set financial limits, such as not spending more money than you have. This can be done by avoiding credit cards, having someone else manage your finances or by closing online betting accounts and keeping only a limited amount of cash on you.

Involving yourself in a loved one’s gambling problems can be difficult, and you may feel like it is your responsibility to fix the situation. But it is important to remember that the person who has a problem is the one who needs to change their behaviour.

Understanding the harms associated with gambling can help you to understand why your loved one is gambling and how best to support them. This can include seeking help for underlying mood disorders, such as depression, stress, or substance abuse, which could have triggered their gambling problems in the first place.