Problem Betting and Gambling Addiction

We believe people should have the freedom to do as they wish with their own money. However, we also feel that it would be remiss to spend all this time talking about online betting without also discussing the very real problem of gambling addiction. The simple fact of the matter is that gambling isn’t for everyone.

There is no hard and fast definition of gambling addiction, so we prefer to instead use one simple question to determine if gambling is right for you:

Does gambling cause problems in your day-to-day life?

If so, online betting probably isn’t for you. The only role gambling should serve in your life is as a fun diversion with a known cost. I like to look at gambling as akin to spending a night out on the town. I have an idea of how much it will cost and understand that this cost is the price of having fun. Gambling should be approached in the same way.

Gambling should not be something that you find excessively expensive or stressful. If you find yourself worried about gambling-related expenditures or unable to quit when you know it’s time to take a break, it could be a sign that things are either already out of control or heading that way.

Whether or not you actually have a gambling problem isn’t always clear. The fact that you have a concern is enough to warrant further research. If your gut is telling you that something isn’t right, the smart thing to do is visit a couple problem gambling resources for high quality advice and information. Here are a couple such resources:

  • Gamblers Anonymous (http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/): Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a fellowship of people that share their personal experiences with problem gambling to try and help others who want to stop gambling. There are divisions of GA all over the world and is recognised as the foremost organisation committed to help with gambling addiction.
  • Gamcare (http://www.gamcare.org.uk/): Gamcare is a UK organization committed to providing information, advice and counseling to help prevent and treat problem gambling.

Remember, seeking help is not an admission of guilt; it is simply the prudent thing to do if you have any questions or concerns regarding your betting habits. Besides, there should be no guilt or shame in admitting you have a problem. Gambling addiction is a nasty thing that can strike anyone of any social class no matter how accomplished, intelligent or successful that person may be in other areas.

The best way to defeat gambling addiction is to seek help from others. Put your ego aside and realize that you need to do whatever it takes to solve this one issue so you can move on with your life. There is no reason to take this fight on your own. Other people have been there, killed the beast and moved on to enjoy the finer things in life. Many former problem gamblers remain active today in assisting others who deal with gambling addiction.

Do I have a gambling problem?

Gambling does not have to be a full-blown obsession to cause problems and there is no one-size-fits-all definition for gambling addiction. Instead, it is best to consider the following questions and get help if one or more of these impact you.

  • Spending more money on gambling than you can afford
  • Spending too much time gambling when you know you should play less
  • You have tried to stop gambling but were unable to quit for good
  • You have argued with friends, family or other loved ones over your gambling habits
  • You have hidden money or lied to cover up gambling expenditures
  • You find your thoughts constantly drawn to gambling
  • You often sit down and keep gambling until your last dollar is gone
  • You often chase your losses
  • You have reverted to gambling to get out of financial trouble
  • You have lost money that was set aside for groceries, bills or other purposes
  • You need to gamble with larger and larger amounts of money to achieve satisfaction
  • You have neglected work, school, family or other responsibilities to gamble
  • You feel stressed, depressed or angry because of gambling
  • You have lost a relationship or missed a career opportunity due to gambling
  • You have borrowed or stolen money to fund your gambling habits
  • You revert to gambling when you feel stressed, worried or depressed

You can also use this anonymous self-assessment test hosted by Gamcare if you’re unsure about your gambling habits. The test only takes a few minutes and will provide you with resources for more advice no matter how you score on the test.

What if I think my partner or loved one has a gambling problem?

Being in any kind of relationship with someone who has a gambling problem can be immensely stressful, but there are resources for loved ones of problem gamblers. Below are a few signs that someone you know may have a gambling problem.

But first, I should point out that there is no single diagnostic tool. If you even suspect someone you love has a problem, you can visit the afore-mentioned websites for resources designed specifically for loved ones. Gam-anon.org also serves as a resource just for friends and family members of problem gamblers.

Your loved one may have a problem if he or she:

  • Frequently talks about gambling
  • Has become secretive about money and finances
  • Becomes defensive about his or her gambling activity
  • Gambles instead of spending time with friends and family
  • Borrows or steals money to fund gambling
  • Neglects basic household and relationship duties

Taking the First Step

If your gut is warning you there is a problem, there probably is. The most important thing you can do is recognize and acknowledge the problem. Once you accept that there is a problem, you can then begin taking steps to solve the problem and get on with your life. Please do yourself a favor and take this important first step. It could save your life.