Gambling is the wagering of something of value (e.g. money) on an event that has some degree of randomness and chance and where instances of strategy are discounted. It includes activities such as buying a Lottery ticket, placing a bet on horse or football accumulators, playing poker or casino games and using the pokies. It can also include speculating on business or insurance markets.
People gamble to have fun and sometimes lose money. However, some people become addicted to gambling and experience serious problems. People may also hide their gambling or lie about how much time and money they spend on it. This can make it difficult to spot a problem.
Psychiatrists, research scientists, treatment care clinicians and public policy makers tend to view the causes of gambling and gambling disorders in different ways. Depending on their disciplinary background, experience and special interests, they may emphasise recreational interest, diminished mathematical skills, poor judgment, cognitive distortions or moral turpitude.
The psychiatric community has historically viewed pathological gambling as an impulse control disorder-a fuzzy label in a group of somewhat related illnesses, including kleptomania and pyromania (hair-pulling). In recent years, though, the APA decided to move pathological gambling into the Addictions chapter of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, reflecting a new understanding of the biological underpinnings of addiction.