What Is Gambling?

Understanding how gambling works will help protect you from the risks of gambling.

Gambling happens when you play any game of chance or skill, in which you stake something valuable that has potential for a prize win..

Often, people who gamble risk money in hopes of winning a greater sum of money. For example, you might risk the cost of a lottery ticket for the chance at winning a large multimillion-dollar jackpot.

When we think about gambling, often places like casinos or racetracks come to mind, but gambling occurs in other places too, like gas stations, church halls, at sporting events and on the Internet.

Common forms of gambling include:

  • Lottery games like LOTTO 6/49 or LOTTO MAX
  • Instant games like scratch cards
  • Bingo games and Nevada tickets
  • Sports betting
  • Dice games
  • Casino games like slot machines and table games
  • Card games
  • Horseracing
  • Video lottery terminals

Gambling Facts

Before you make your next wager, understand the facts behind this inherently risky past time.

Facts about Gambling

Why do people gamble?

It’s easy to think about gambling as being all about the possibility of winning money. But people gamble for different reasons. In fact, some people gamble to alleviate stress; others to take their minds off their problems or socialize with friends. When people gamble, it triggers feelings of euphoria, linked to the brain’s reward system.

A report published in International Gambling Studies has shown that popular motives for why people gamble include mood change and the dream of achieving a jackpot win. Games have the power to change the moods of players (Per Binde, 2013). Other reasons include social rewards and intellectual challenge (ibid.).

And while gambling can trigger feelings of excitement and euphoria, it’s important to remember that all forms of gambling are inherently risky. Every time a person chooses to gamble, they risk losing. For that reason, it’s best to think of gambling as a form of entertainment and not a way to make money. If you gamble, find out how you can play more safely and protect yourself from harm.



Take the Self-Assessment Quiz

Find out how your gambling habits measure up.

Take the Gambling Self-Assessment Quiz

Gambling myths

When it comes to gambling, we’re separating fact from fiction.

Common Myths about Gambling

About the Responsible Gambling Council

The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting safer gambling by influencing positive change and advancing responsible gambling standards in Canada and around the world.

About RGC