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Gambling 101


What is Gambling?

A person is gambling whenever he or she takes the chance of losing money or belongings, and when winning or losing is decided mostly by chance. Gambling in Canada has grown at an unprecedented rate over the last decade and is an increasingly popular recreational activity. While gambling was once illegal, or viewed as a disreputable activity, social norms have shifted. Gambling is now a multi-billion dollar industry in Canada, and its growth is likely to continue. Surveys indicate that the general population favours funding charities, health care and other important initiatives through the funds raised from gambling.

While some may consider gambling only to be associated with casinos and racetracks, there are countless activities that are considered gambling.

There are many different ways to gamble, including:

  • casino games (Craps, dice, Sic Bo (Chinese dice game), Pai Gow Tiles (Chinese Dominoes), Slot machines, Roulette, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, Three Card Poker, Casino War, Baccarat, Spanish 21, Pai Gow Poker and others)
  • bingo
  • keno
  • slot machines
  • lottery tickets
  • scratch, Nevada or pull-tab tickets
  • betting on card games, mah-jong or dominoes
  • betting on horse racing
  • other sports betting
  • betting on games of skill, such as golf or pool
  • tombola and similar games
  • internet gambling
  • stock market speculation.

There are different reasons why people choose to gamble. Individuals may be gambling to win money, to socialize, for excitement or to pass time.

For some people, gambling may become a serious problem that affects all aspects of their lives. And as gambling becomes more accessible, the number of people affected by problem gambling also increases.

Are you wondering if you need help? Fill out this questionnaire and find out! Do You Need Help? Quiz 

Elements of gambling:

  • One needs to realize that by gambling, something valuable is being put at risk.
  • The outcome of the game is determined by chance.
  • Once a bet is made, it is irreversible.

Back to Gambling 101 


DISCLAIMER: Information on this site is not to be used for diagnosis, treatment or referral services. CAMH does not provide diagnostic, treatment or referral services through the Internet.
CAMH accepts no responsibility for such use. Individuals should contact their personal physician, and/or their local addiction or mental health agency regarding any such services.
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