The act of wagering something of value (often money) on an event whose outcome is uncertain. It can be as informal as one person betting against another on a sporting event (‘I’ll bet you that doesn’t work’) or as formal as an agreement between two parties to place bets on events of uncertain outcome, such as the stock market. The risk of losing is always present and the reward, if successful, is psychological and ego based.

Gambling is a common activity for many people. While it is a great way to socialise and pick up skills, it can also be harmful if taken too far. The best way to avoid harm from gambling is to limit your losses, set financial limits and stick to them. Avoid drinking or taking drugs while gambling and balance your time between playing and other activities.

There has long been a history of legal prohibition of gambling, often on moral grounds or to preserve public order where disputes over the activity have led to violent confrontations. It has also been banned in some jurisdictions to prevent the waste of resources, as well as to protect individuals and families from the consequences of compulsive gambling. Today, there is a growing movement to decriminalise gambling and to promote it as an ethically neutral form of entertainment and economic development. Supporters of the movement argue that state-sponsored gambling can attract tourists, boosting local business and generating tax revenues. Opponents point to a variety of social costs, including debt problems and loss of productivity.