Gambling involves risking something of value on an event that is determined at least in part by chance, with the hope of winning something else of value. It is the opposite of skill-based activities such as playing sports or playing cards.

Some people develop a problem with gambling, which is called pathological gambling or compulsive gambling. Problem gambling can have serious financial, emotional and social consequences for the person who has a problem and his or her family.

A clear definition of gambling can help individuals, families and policy-makers create responsible gambling measures to prevent harm. It can also be used to establish consumer protections and ensure that people are not exposed to misleading advertising or unscrupulous practices.

While most people think of slot machines and casinos when they hear the word ‘gambling,’ it is important to remember that gambling can take many forms. From placing bets on a football match to buying scratchcards, any activity that involves risking money or other valuables on an event whose outcome is determined, at least in part, by chance is considered gambling.

Those who are most likely to develop a problem with gambling include people with low incomes, young people, and men. These groups are more vulnerable to the allure of a big jackpot, which can make up for previous losses or even cover debts. Other vulnerable groups include those with mental health or substance abuse problems and those who have poor impulse control skills.