Problem Gambling is a form of addiction that is difficult to control. An individual is unable to stop the urge to participate in gambling activities, even though it negatively affects their lives. Many mental health professionals have developed criteria for recognizing a problem gambler. They use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a guide to diagnose psychological disorders. The DSM lists Gambling Disorder alongside other addictive behaviors.
The underlying cause of gambling is the desire to win money. While there are several types of gambling, most involve betting on uncertain outcomes. The result of a bet may depend entirely on chance or may be the result of the gambler miscalculating his or her own chances. For these reasons, gambling is often considered a pathological addiction. If an individual develops compulsive behaviors, it can lead to debt, criminal activity, and even violence.
While gambling may seem to be a fun past time, it is also a significant business activity. In the United States, the legal gambling market was valued at $335 billion in 2009. The act of gambling is typically conducted with materials of value. For instance, players of marbles might wager marbles, while players of Magic: The Gathering might stake collectible game pieces. In some cases, this creates a meta-game surrounding the player’s collection.