Gambling is the act of placing a wager on a random event, in which the winner is expected to receive something of value in return. In contrast to the use of strategy and other forms of risk management, gambling is based on chance, and so it is not possible to predict or control the outcome of the wager. In order to be considered gambling, there are three main elements that must be present: consideration, risk, and prize.

Problem gambling is most common in younger and middle-aged people, although it is also an issue among older adults. The likelihood of developing compulsive gambling increases if gambling began in childhood, or if the gambling behavior was influenced by friends or family. Although compulsive gambling is more common among men than among women, both sexes are susceptible to the disorder.

Psychotherapy can help a person address the underlying causes of problem gambling. Therapy for gambling disorder uses cognitive-behavioral strategies to identify and eliminate false beliefs and unhealthy gambling behaviors. It also involves teaching coping mechanisms. While therapy is not a cure for problem gambling, it can help a person to make healthier decisions and live a more balanced lifestyle.

Support groups can be helpful in overcoming a gambling problem. These groups often utilize peer support to help individuals identify their gambling problems and find a solution. Moreover, many states have gambling helplines where individuals can ask for help. In addition, a support group can provide the individual with peer support and a safe space to talk about their problems. In addition to peer support groups, individuals can also join Gamblers Anonymous. These groups are similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and feature former addicts who can provide guidance and encouragement.