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What is gambling?

Gambling is “the act of risking money or something else of value on an activity with an uncertain outcome.” Playing cards or video games for money, buying raffle tickets, betting on who’s going to win the next game of pool, or wagering your favorite video game on the outcome of a sports event – it’s all considered gambling. For most people, gambling is just for fun. It’s a way of making the game more challenging, more exciting. But, for some people, gambling becomes a serious problem.

When does gambling become a problem?

Problem gambling is any gambling, betting or wagering that causes family, financial, legal, emotional or other problems for the gambler, their family or others. Problem gambling can have a negative effect on your life or the lives of people close to you. For example, if your gambling is causing you to fall behind in school, miss work, have arguments with family or friends, or worry about money you have lost, you may be a “problem gambler.”

Anyone who gambles can develop a gambling problem.

What are the warning signs?

  • Gambling more frequently or for longer than intended
  • Lying about where money goes
  • Declining work or school performance
  • Borrowing money in order to gamble
  • Increasing preoccupation with gambling
  • Distancing or isolating from family or friends
  • Unable to pay bills or cover expenses
  • Chasing losses, or returning the next day to win back what was lost
  • Have you committed or considered committing a crime to finance your gambling
  • Have you made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control or stop your gambling

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