6 Jun

Identifying a Gambling Problem before it Escalates

How do I know if I have a gambling problem?

How do I Know if I have a gambling problem?If you’re asking this question, there’s good reason for it. Either you believe you, or someone you know, might have, or be at risk of developing, a gambling addiction. Once addiction sets in, it can be incredibly hard to break. The best thing you can do is recognize the signs before things spiral out of control.

Do I Have a Gambling Problem?

There are several clear signs that a gambling hobby may be transitioning into a habit. Instead of being something you enjoy, it becomes something you feel a compulsion to do. The following factors should be considered, and identified, as early as possible.

Is Gambling a Hobby or a Habit?

Think very long and hard about this question. How often are you gambling, whether it’s at a land-based track or casino, or an online gambling site? Is this something you do for entertainment, or do you feel like you need to gamble? If you’re not sure, try not gambling for a set period of time—significantly longer than you normally go without gambling—and see how it affects you. Once gambling goes from hobby to habit, you may have a problem.

Are you Ashamed of / Hiding your Gambling?

Have you ever hid the fact that you’re gambling? Have you ever told someone you’re going one place, but you’re actually going to the casino? If you’ve ever turned your smartphone away from prying eyes to hide the fact that you’re playing slots or blackjack, you’re hiding it. If you feel ashamed enough to hide your gambling from anyone (except maybe a hardcore religious fanatic who preaches the woes of all gambling), you may have a problem.

Have you Missed Work to Gamble?

Skipping work to gamble is a clear sign that there may be an issue developing. Calling in sick to visit the local casino, or taking a long lunch because you’re busy playing the slots, is not a good sign. Hobbies are not something that would interfere with everyday responsibilities; habits are.

Are you Prone to Gambler’s Fallacy?

The Gambler’s Fallacy is a real, psychological term that applies to a gambler believing they are ‘due for a win‘. Being the victim of bad luck, or a long losing streak, does not mean your luck will turn around, or that you’ll incur a streak of good luck to make up for it.

If the Player hand wins at the baccarat table 7 times in a row, this doesn’t mean you should bet everything on Banker. The odds are always the same, with each hand dealt. Short term results have nothing to do with mathematical probabilities. If you’re finding yourself risking more money than you should because you’re ‘due for a win’, you’ve become a victim of the Gambler’s Fallacy.

Do You Borrow Money to Gamble?

Gambling is something that should only be done with your own extra money, that you know you can afford to lose. If you’re borrowing money from friends and family to support your hobby, it’s not a hobby—it’s a habit.

Are You in Debt, or Spending More than You can Afford?

Have you ever spent money to gamble that was originally meant for anther purpose? Your bankroll should only consist of extra money. All bills should be paid, groceries and household necessities purchased, before you put money aside for betting.

If you owe gambling debts to a casino, to a credit card company, or to anyone you’ve borrowed money from, you’re clearly spending more than you can afford.

What To Do Next…

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to turn things around. You may be at risk of developing an addiction. If you answered yes to all of the questions, you may already be in the throes of gambling addiction. But it’s not to late to break the habit. It’s never too late!

There are organizations all over the world that are set up for the sole purpose of helping people, and the families of people, who suffer from problem gambling. The best place to start is to pick up the phone…

Canada & US: NCPG 1-800-522-4700

Europe & UK: GamCare 0808 8020 133

Australia: Lifeline 1800 858 858

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