Understanding Why You Gamble

Gambling is an international business and is the most popular form of entertainment. Legally, gambling markets in the United States and other countries totalled $335 billion in 2009. People gamble with materials of value in many forms, from dice and cards to marbles and collectible game pieces. The results of these bets can often lead to metagames about which player’s collection is worth the most. Understanding why you gamble can help you change your behaviour.


In addition, many gamblers consider their activity to be a second job. They attempt to make money from their gambling and may borrow from other people or credit cards to do so. The APA only formally defines gambling as a mental disorder. However, professional gamblers have many cognitive and motivational biases that can contribute to their impulsive decisions. They often bet against their own interests, putting themselves and others at risk.

Gambling has many negative consequences. It is not a solution to life’s problems. The most common outcome is financial loss. The problem with gambling is that it can deteriorate a person’s self-esteem. Regardless of the results of the gambling activity, the gambler loses interest in activities that do not involve money. In addition to the potential for relationship breakdowns, gambling can negatively impact a person’s performance at work and ability to focus on long-term goals.