Gambling is any game of chance where you stake something of value (such as money) on an event that has a potential to yield a prize. It can involve anything from a single roll of the dice, spin of a roulette wheel, or purchase of a lottery ticket to an entire sports season or horse race.
While some people gamble professionally, many others participate casually with friends or family for a small amount of money. These activities are known as social gambling. They can include playing card or board games for a small sum of money, participating in a sports betting pool, or buying lottery tickets with coworkers.
When it comes to professional gambling, you can place bets on sporting events and horse races, or play casino games like slot machines and table games. The latter may take the form of blackjack, baccarat, poker, and craps, which are often played in brick-and-mortar casinos and online.
Problem gambling is when you begin to lose control of your gambling. It can interfere with your daily life, causing you to lie to family and friends or hide your spending habits from them. In addition, gambling changes the way your brain works and can trigger a dopamine response that is similar to the one produced by taking drugs.
Counseling can help you develop better coping mechanisms for problematic gambling. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a goal-oriented approach that helps you unlearn negative thoughts and behaviors and learn healthier alternatives. Motivational interviewing is another type of counseling that empowers you to identify and solve your uncertainty about making healthy change.