Gambling involves staking something of value (usually money) on the outcome of an uncertain event where chance usually places a major role in the determination of outcomes. A wide range of commercial activities fall within this definition, including lotteries, electronic gaming (e.g., poker machines, video lottery terminals), casino games and sports betting.1
Problem (or “pathological”) gambling is characterised by difficulties in limiting money or time spent on gambling, resulting in various issues for the gambler, their partner, family, friends, work colleagues, and the community.2
Assessment of problem gambling will usually involve the administration of a screening measure or a structured clinical interview to assess the type and extent of the gambling problem, and to develop an effective treatment plan. Recommended treatment modalities include cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, and motivational enhancement therapy, which have been shown to change the problem thinking and behaviours of the gambler and manage the social and environmental factors that reinforce the gambling behaviour of the client.
Psychologists are trained in these assessment and intervention approaches and individuals who are being negatively impacted by gambling could benefit from a series of consultations with a psychologist.