Gambling involves risking something of value in an attempt to win a prize. It can include activities that are completely random and involving no skill, such as lottery, scratch-offs, or video poker; and those that require some level of skill, such as betting on sports events, playing card games, or using strategies when playing slot machines or table games. Gambling can occur in casinos, racetracks, and other locations that offer gambling services; and it also occurs over the Internet.

Problem gambling can cause harms that affect the gambler, their significant others, and the community. These impacts can be negative or positive. Negative impacts may include increased debt, family conflicts, and financial strain, while positive effects can be derived from tax revenues that are partly directed to community/society benefits. These long-term effects can also impact children and grandchildren of the gambler.

There are ways to prevent gambling from becoming a problem. The first step is to recognize the dangers. Gambling can quickly turn from a fun diversion into an unhealthy obsession with serious consequences, including financial disaster. It can strain relationships, interfere with work and other enjoyable activities, and lead to bad decisions like chasing losses or taking out loans. It is important to balance gambling with other healthy activities, especially socializing and exercising. Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings with healthier and less addictive habits, such as talking with friends who do not gamble or practicing relaxation techniques. Never gamble on credit or take money from other family members, and never spend more than you can afford to lose.