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7 Common Types of Gambling

Betting isn’t exclusive to casinos. Understand the different forms and risks here.

Gambling takes on many forms, and some of them are discreet. Since it often has a gaming, social or entertainment component, it can be easy to develop a habit while overlooking potential risks. Unlike skill-based recreational activities, gambling has a high degree of chance involved and the possibility of financial loss. While controlled gambling doesn’t always lead to serious consequences, it’s important to understand the signs of problems. Learn about seven major types of gambling and potential issues here.


Horse Racing

One of the oldest types of sports, horse racing has been a popular form of entertainment and gambling since prehistoric times. But the excitement of going to the racetrack can be more than just a social outing. It can escalate into a habit or even become problem gambling, especially since you have the option to place a bet with a very small amount of money. This makes it an affordable way to gamble on a regular basis.


Lottery Tickets

Buying a lottery ticket is as easy as buying a pack of gum, and this accessibility can be difficult to resist. The thrill of possibly winning money with an instant scratch-off or entering a drawing with a big payout can turn into a purchasing habit and drain money overtime. Since the odds of winning are remarkably slim, even buying a single ticket will typically result in lost money.



These spaces are designed for gambling, with a wide range of games including slot machines, roulette and pool. Since many casino games are fun and interactive, with colorful lights and music playing, they’re popular social destinations. Their allure can lead to compulsive problem gambling and other linked issues like anxiety, depression and migraines.



Poker is a card game played among a group, where the player with the best hand wins a sum of money. It involves mostly luck and some strategy that can be learned, but taking part poses a high likelihood of losing money. People who participate in this type of gambling have a particularly high risk for developing harmful gambling-related tendencies.


Sports Betting

Sports betting is a growing trend, with an increasing number of states choosing to legalize it. While it has a wide range of participation, young men make up the largest portion of the betting population. The rates of problem gambling associated with sports betting are nearly twice as high as those with general gambling.



Played in a group setting, bingo is a game completely up to chance. Each player has a card with a grid of numbers on it, and the goal is to win by being the first to complete a row as numbers are called at random. While playing bingo typically has fewer risks than other forms of gambling, it can become detrimental to family dynamics and finances.


Card Games

Aside from poker, there are several other card games played in casinos or among recreational social groups, including blackjack, rummy and Texas hold ‘em. Because of the social nature of card games, this type of gambling can quickly turn into a pattern, creating the possibility of financial losses that add up over time.

Understanding these facts and risks can help you make informed decisions and monitor your approach to gambling. If you need support, confidential help is available.