Gambling is the act of risking something of value on an event that has some element of chance or uncertainty, and where there is a real possibility of winning. It includes playing games of chance such as poker, horse racing, lotteries, sports betting (including football accumulators and elections), and casino games, such as blackjack and roulette. It does not include bona fide business transactions, contracts of indemnity or guaranty, or life, health, or casualty insurance.

Although many people gamble for fun, some become addicted. The onset of gambling disorder may be as early as adolescence, or it can occur later in life. Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. Treatment options may include support groups and psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy.

Some people are able to break their gambling addiction on their own, but many need help. If you or someone you love has a gambling problem, seek professional help as soon as possible. The first step is admitting you have a problem, which can be difficult — especially if you’ve lost a lot of money or strained relationships as a result of your addiction.

Then, learn to manage unpleasant feelings in healthier ways. For example, if you often gamble to relieve boredom or stress, try taking up a new hobby or getting more exercise. It’s also helpful to set money and time limits for yourself. Remove credit cards from your wallet, let someone else handle your finances, close online betting accounts, and keep only a small amount of cash on hand.