How to Know You Are at Risk for Problem Gambling

Not everyone who gambles gambles excessively. Gamblers are not all alike, nor are the problems they face. People with gambling problems come from all age groups, income groups, cultures and jobs. Some people develop gambling problems over many years; others develop it suddenly.

What problem gamblers do have in common is this: gamblers gamble for a reason. There are many reasons why a gambling problem may develop. For example, some people develop problems when they try to win back money they have lost in reverse roulette, or because they like the excitement. Others use the altered emotional and physical states that come with gambling as a way to escape life stresses and problems.

Problem gambling can affect all aspects of a person’s life: home, job, family, health, self-esteem and much more can be lost or impaired by problem gambling.

You might be “At Risk” for Problem Gambling

Despite the fact there can be great differences between individuals who gamble problematically, some general trends and patterns have emerged. While more research is definitely needed, gambling problem are more likely to appear when:

  • You have addictions to other substances and processes. Cross- and poly-addiction is common in problem gamblers. Common cross- and poly-addictions for problem gamblers include sex, alcohol, and cocaine.
  • You have a personal or family history of mood, anxiety, or personality disorders. People who gamble often these issues. Almost three-quarters of compulsive gamblers experience major depression.
  • You started to gamble young. You may be more likely to develop an addiction to gambling if you begin to gamble at a young age.
  • You are a man. Compulsive gambling occurs in age group of 21 to 55, but lately it is increasing among teenagers. Even though it is known that less women gamble compared to men, but those who gamble become addicted sooner. Men generally choose playing blackjack and cards and to bet on sporting events and horse races. Women are more likely to play the slot machines and bingo. In social groups where gambling by women is normalized, women have the same or slightly higher rates of problem gambling as men do. Internet availability has also increased women’s participation in problem gambling because in general women are more secretive about addiction behaviours of any sort, and the Internet offers greater secrecy than casinos do.
  • You live close to gambling locations. People who live close to a casino or betting facility are more likely to develop a gambling problem. Video lotteries are more problematic and it is also called as “crack cocaine” of gambling due to its highly addictive nature. With the use of the Internet, and more gaming computer interfaces that resemble the video lotteries, location is less an issue now than in the past.
  • Your family members have or had gambling problems. If your parents had a gambling problem, the chances are greater that you will too.
  • You take medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Medications like dopamine agonists and pramipexole have rare side effects and in some people it results in compulsive behavior.
  • You have ADHD or a “type A” personality. Being highly competitive or often experiencing restlessness or boredom may increase your risk.

Having Problem With Gambling

There are many on-line resources and questionnaire to help in determining whether gambling is a problem.

When you have a gambling problem, it can be hard to find hope for the future. Just remember this: you are not alone. There is help available, whenever you are ready.

Tips to Gamble Responsibly

Gambling is all about luck. Always remember that, and never bet any more than what can be afforded. Gambling should be simply a type of entertainment, something that makes people happy.

The time when gambling becomes a problem for people is when they find themselves arguing with family and friends, when they are getting into debt as a result of gambling, or when they are canceling appointments or events because they ‘want’ to gamble.

How People Can Keep Control of Gambling – Online and Offline

Gambling involves taking chances with money. However it also involves more than one player. For that reason it is essential that players do not allow themselves to be distracted. Chatting online to other players may be polite and fun, but it can distract from the game and cause players to lose.

Similarly, the television, family, friends, etc. can all cause loss of concentration, which can in turn result in loss of money.

Ensure that regular breaks are taken. People should never spend all night long sitting at a card table or playing online games, and they should never spend all day long in a betting shop. The less time people immerse themselves in gambling, the less likely they are to become addicted.

When an individual is winning, it is not wise for them to re-invest all of their winnings. A percentage of all winnings should be kept to one side, otherwise there would be no point in playing the game.

Regardless of whether people are playing for pretend or real money, it is important that they set limits of how much money they will spend in any one game, and in any one day. Once a limit has been set, it is important that it is stuck to, regardless of whether the individual playing is winning or losing.

This will ensure that money which has been set aside for other things does not get spent on gambling.

Also remember that online gambling moves at a much quicker pace than offline gambling. Cards do not have to be physically dealt, and dice are not actually rolled. Everything is done at the click of a button, which gives less time for thinking about what to do next. Money can easily disappear very quickly.

Gambling Addiction

If an individual finds that they feel a need to go on gambling websites, or they are re-arranging other things to make time for gambling, then it is very likely that they have an addiction.