Gambling is when someone wagers something of value – often money but also things like marbles, cards or a game of Pogs – on an event that is based on chance and the outcome depends on the roll of the dice, the spin of the wheel or the flick of a lever. Humans are incredibly sensitive to losses (a PS10 note loss generates a much stronger emotional response than finding PS10) and this combined with a tendency to gamble for the euphoria of a win can lead to addiction.

The good news is that gambling can be a fun, social and rewarding activity if it’s done responsibly. However, the convenience, safety and security offered by online gambling can also mean that it’s a very addictive activity.

When people gamble, they choose what they want to bet on – it could be the winner of a football match, a scratchcard or a casino game – and then place their bet against the ‘odds’ set by the betting company, which determine how much they might win if they’re correct. However, gambling is a highly unpredictable activity and this can frustrate some people as they try to find ways of gaining control over the outcome – for example, throwing the dice in a certain way or wearing a particular item of clothing that they believe to be lucky.

Ultimately, there are four main reasons why someone might gamble. They might do it for entertainment purposes, to feel a rush or ‘high’, to get a win and to escape boredom or stress. Understanding these motivations can help you to understand why your loved one might keep gambling and it may help you to see why they can’t stop.