Problem gambling is the result of compulsive or excessive gambling. A person with a problem gambles more than recreational gamblers do. Typical characteristics of problem gamblers include impaired impulse control, a desire for novelty, a strong desire to win big, and a willingness to try new things. The underlying psychological causes of gambling problems are not fully understood, but many of the same factors may apply to other addictive behaviors as well.
Gambling has many negative social, physical, and psychological consequences. It is considered an impulse-control disorder, a form of compulsive behavior. The primary purpose of gambling is to win money or material goods. Whether or not one wins depends on the circumstances, the prize, and the chance. Typically, the outcome of the gambling activity is clear within a short time. Legal gambling is often regulated by gaming control boards, which are organizations that conduct gambling activities.
The prevalence of problem gambling in regular gamblers was lowest among those who engaged in gambling regularly. Only about 20% to 28% of those who regularly gambled were considered problem gamblers. This group is small enough to miss a few weeks of work or school. These people may also lie to their spouses to get away with the gambling. While adult pathological gamblers may spend their paycheck on a single bet, adolescents may wager pocket money or even a video game console.