When Gambling Becomes a Problem

Categories : Gambling

Gambling is the act of wagering money or something else of value on an event that is based on chance. It is not illegal in all jurisdictions and it has long been a popular form of entertainment and recreation. However, many people can become too involved in gambling and it may have negative social, family, and financial consequences. If you suspect that you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, you should seek help.

Gambling can take many forms, from scratchcards to lottery tickets, video poker to slots, and sports betting to horse racing. While the specific games differ, there are a few common factors: (1) an individual puts up something of value in exchange for a possible reward; (2) that person has some degree of control over the outcome; (3) and the chances of winning or losing are not equal (the game is not rigged).

While many individuals gamble responsibly, it is important to recognize when gambling becomes a problem. A person with a gambling disorder is defined as someone who: (1) has a preoccupation with the outcome of a gambling activity; (2) loses control over money or time spent on gambling; (3) lies to family members, therapists, or employers to conceal involvement in gambling; (4) feels anxiety, depression, or guilt about gambling-related losses; (5) attempts to get even after losing money by gambling again; and (6) jeopardizes relationships, work, or education opportunities due to gambling-related stress.

Despite the common misconception that only a small percentage of the population suffers from gambling addiction, the truth is that it is much more common than people realize. In fact, it is estimated that over 10 trillion dollars are legally wagered on sports, lotteries, and other events worldwide each year.

Although many people enjoy gambling for the excitement, it is important to recognize when the hobby becomes a problem and to seek help if necessary. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for those with a gambling disorder. In addition, there are a few things that anyone can do to help reduce their risk of gambling problems.

To keep from becoming too involved in gambling, set a limit for how much you want to spend and stick to it. Also, always expect to lose some of the money that you put up and don’t chase your losses. It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are due for a big win and can recover your losses by gambling more. This is known as the gambler’s fallacy and it is very dangerous to your financial health.

To prevent gambling addiction, try to occupy your mind with other stimulating activities such as exercising, reading a book, or practicing mindfulness exercises like deep breathing. Also, stay away from casinos and other places where gambling takes place. Avoid gambling apps on your smartphone or tablet and don’t carry large sums of cash around.