This is because you are risking losing your own money or something with a monetary value in the hope of winning something of greater value.
However, no two gamblers are the same. It is possible to categorise them though.
Some are hardcore and want action on a daily basis, some play only in short stints, some set themselves maximum amounts they are prepared to lose, some use gambling as a release while others do it purely for fun.
Here is a lowdown of six different types of gambler. Which do you fit into?
Whether it’s consistently betting on sport or the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth regularly winning big at the poker tables, professional gamblers treat the activity as their main source of income.
Their preference is for skill-based games rather than those that rely considerably on luck. This allows these professionals to apply their experience, knowledge and time spent practicing and researching to gain an edge. They can also calculate odds quickly to make the most of any advantageous opportunity they are presented with.
These individuals don’t just gamble for something to do and are certainly not addicts. The key is to remain patient until a valuable betting opportunity arises and then make the most of it. They are in control of their actions, keeping risks to a minimum.
This is somewhat opposite to a professional in the sense that gambling dictates the lives of such people, but in a negative way. It isn’t something that balances with other activities, whether they are personal or professional.
Gambling ultimately becomes an addiction, whether it be playing slot machines or betting on sport. It could even result in theft or lying to help continue the habit.
Even some celebrities have suffered the affliction, with actor Ben Affleck once checking himself into a rehabilitation unit. Meanwhile, former NBA basketball player Charles Barkley and golfer John Daly are among those to admit that it is a problem they had to overcome.
This type of gambler may invest as much time as a professional in preparing bets, but the reasoning for getting involved is more as a form of relaxation and entertainment, rather than making money to live off.
For example, it could be a sports bettor who knows the form and injury record of every player and team ahead of a game and then making a decision accordingly.
They differ from a compulsive gambler because they are in control of their decisions and would still rank their families and career more prominently, even if the long hours they spend involved in gambling tasks give the impression that it is more than a standard hobby.
These players would miss gambling if they had to go a month without it.
If you have the odd bet on televised football matches, book a trip to Las Vegas once a year with the lads or meet up with some mates to play poker once a month, it is likely that you are a casual social gambler.
At certain times of the year, such gamblers stake money daily, while at others they go a few weeks or even months without betting a thing.
The amount of money allocated towards gambling is in line with any other hobby too, whether it be going to the pub, playing sport or eating out and what they gamble doesn’t have any real consequence on the remainder of their lives.
Take a conservative gambler to a betting environment and the betting may well be an afterthought. It is the experience of the visit that is likely to appeal just as much as the potential to make a profit.
This is the sort of player who may hit a roulette wheel for one spin, only betting again if the first bet is successful. Their budget is their number-one concern, so it is likely to be at a penny slot machine or low-stakes table where they are found.
It could be loneliness, anxiety, anger or plain old boredom. When people are suffering from emotional distress, they often find relief in something. Gambling is one such respite.
Where most gamblers enjoy the exhilarating joy of a win, escape gamblers prefer it more as a therapeutic experience.
The main shortcoming is that these players can find themselves on a losing streak quickly as this is not a significant concern of their gambling experience.