Gambling is an enjoyable hobby for many people, but especially when there is money at stake, such as with bookmaking and poker, there is an increased risk of developing an addiction.

We want to make our users aware of the risks entailed in gambling for money, and encourage seeking professional help if you feel that your own gaming habits get out of hand and you either are in or are heading into a situation where you lose control.

What is gambling addiction?

Gambling for many is a hobby that they enjoy. However, some individuals are unable to control their gambling habits after a while. Whenever gambling goes beyond mere enjoyment and becomes an obsession it could lead to serious problems in the individual’s life. In such cases, the addiction reaches a level where even if the person realizes he or she is hurting themselves or their loved ones they are unable to stop their behavior.

A gambling addiction or a problem has many facets where not everyone may suffer the same symptoms or experience a similar intensity.  Compulsive gamblers are those who are unable to control their desire to gamble and will continue to do so regardless of whether they win or lose and even if they cannot afford to lose. On the other hand, binge gamblers exhibit the symptoms of compulsive gamblers but only over a period of time. They may have the ability to refrain from gambling for a week or month at a time but eventually go back to gambling compulsively for long stretches.

Problem gamblers are individuals who may not be addicted but have the habit of gambling that can potentially disturb their normal life. They are the ones who begin to chase losses, gamble with money that isn’t their own, steal to support their habit, or lie to their loved ones about their finances and betting habits.

Gambling addiction in the US

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, as many as 2 million adults in the country are candidates for pathological gambling. In addition, 4 to 6 million are considered problem gambler. The silver lining is that most adults that gamble do so responsibly. Some problem gamblers do not seek treatment and suffer from some level of problem gambling for several years. However, urges everyone to seek immediate help from resources that can be found right here on our site.

Recognizing Problem Gambling

To begin with, it is important to understand that every individual is different and may exhibit varied signs and symptoms of a gambling problem. Often, gamblers as well as those around them fail to pick up certain signs. According to the American Psychiatric Association some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Constant urge to gamble at any time during the day or night
  • Chasing losses in the hopes of winning
  • Using gambling to escape from problems
  • Showing signs of depression/anxiety
  • Conflicts with others over money issues
  • Hiding financial details from spouse or family
  • Frequently borrowing money or asking for advances
  • Jeopardizing significant relationships to gamble

Pathological gamblers may exhibit several of the symptoms above. However, it is always advisable to seek help even if you experience one of the above symptoms.

How to be a responsible gambler

We recommend that every gambler pay close attention to the following:

  • Determine a realistic amount you can afford to gamble.
  • Do not place large bets in the hopes of winning big.
  • Assign only specific hours to gambling and quit even if you are on a winning streak.
  • Don’t chase your losses.
  • Never risk all your money. Keep a certain percentage as your bankroll and separate winnings.
  • Gambling is not a shortcut to financial success.
  • Seek help immediately if you worried about gambling problems.

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Need help?

(CO) Gambling problem? Call 1-800-522-4700.

(IA) If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-BETS-OFF.

(IN) If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-9-WITH-IT.
Indiana Self-Restriction Program

(NJ) Bet with your head, not over it! Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.

(NV) If your gambling is no longer fun, don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact
the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling or call 1-800-522-4700.

(PA) If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available, call 1-800-Gambler.

(WV) If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.