Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that causes trouble in your life or the lives of people close to you (like parents, brothers and sisters, or friends).
If you gamble a lot and your gambling is causing you to miss school or work, have arguments with family or friends, or worry about money you have lost, gambling is a serious problem for you.
Is gambling a problem for most people?
No. Most of the people gamble accordingly, with no problems. But for few, gambling becomes a vital part of their lives and does become a problem.
Gambling problems can range from minor to quite serious. Gambling can also cause some odd problems like making it hard to pay the utility bill, the rent, or a credit card bill.
Mostly these problems get bigger and more serious, like causing a lot of debt, problems with friends and family, and even doing things that are illegal.
What are those things that problem gamblers have in common?
- more likely to be male
- gamble more often
- generally bet larger amounts on all forms of gambling
- spend more time per gambling session
- are more likely to have been in trouble with the police
- more likely to say they have been rejected by family members
Who is most likely to develop gambling problems?
There’s no way of knowing who will develop a gambling problem. Anyone who gambles can develop this problem.
Problem gamblers can be rich or poor, young or old, male or female there is just no way of telling ahead of time.
What are some types of behavior seen in problem gamblers?
There are many types of behavior seen in problem gamblers. Remember though: not every gambler is a problem gambler, and not every problem gambler will show all these types of behavior.
Someone with a gambling problem:
- Can be secretive or defensive about money.
- Can borrow money from family members or friends.
- Can put all their hopes on the big win. They believe the big win, rather than changing their gambling behavior, will solve financial or other problems.
- Can promise to cut back on gambling, but they may find themselves unable to reduce or stop gambling. They often return the next day or a few days later to try and win their money back.
- Can have a lot of emotional highs and lows.
- Loss the “thrill” and become bad-tempered, withdrawn, depressed, or restless if they can’t gamble.
- Love to relive wins but will make light of losses when others say they’re concerned. Wins and losses may also be kept a secret.
- Can rather gamble than spend time with friends, and can miss special family events.