Gambling is an activity in which individuals place something of value on an event that is primarily a matter of chance with the hope of realizing a gain. It has been part of human society throughout history, and is reflected in culture through customs, traditions, mythology and art.

People gamble for a variety of reasons, including social, financial, or entertainment purposes. Some people are able to gamble responsibly and enjoy the activity, but others become addicted and suffer negative consequences in their personal and family lives, as well as their work performance and finances.

Problem gambling is characterized by several warning signs, which include: (1) lying to friends and family members about the amount of money that is lost; (2) hiding or concealing cash or other assets; (3) continuing to gamble despite losing significant amounts of money; and (4) seeking out ways to obtain additional funds (e.g., forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement) to finance gambling (American Psychiatric Association 2000). Problem gamblers may also experience a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems as a result of their addiction to gambling.

It can be difficult to cope with a loved one’s problem gambling, but there are things that you can do. First, make sure that you have a support network of friends and family to help you cope with this situation. If you don’t have a support system, try to find ways to meet new people, such as joining a sports team or book club, volunteering for a cause, or taking a class. Another way to combat the problem gambling behavior is by setting limits for yourself and avoiding temptation. For example, when you’re gambling, don’t take out more money than you can afford to lose, and never play with your ATM card.