It seems like such an innocent thing to do, and most of us have done it at some point in our lives. We buy a lottery ticket hoping to win Powerball, or we bring $20 to the casino hoping to win at the slot machines, we may even have placed a bet on the last superbowl or NCAA tournament, or maybe you’re bored one night so you decide to play some poker online using your credit card. What we don’t realize is that these are all forms of gambling and that each of these situations can lead to a problem.

The definition of problem gambling is:

“Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term "Problem Gambling" includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as "Pathological", or "Compulsive" Gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences (Source: ncpgambling.org).”

Real Voices

PUBLIC AWARENESS > Real Voices

Source: www.ncpgambling.org

ON GAMBLERS

Gamblers always are trying new ways to make a bet
A nd then end up getting themselves deeper into debt
M oney is not there when needed to put food on the table
B ecause they throw it away as soon as they're able
L ook how often this tragic habit affects their health
E ver they constantly strive to create easy wealth
R eally, all that they accomplish is to lose their wives
S urely, there must be a way out that will save their lives.

Pathological Gambling Criteria

PROBLEM GAMBLERS

10 Questions About Gambling Behavior

1. You have often gambled longer than you had planned.
2. You have often gambled until your last dollar was gone.
3. Thoughts of gambling have caused you to lose sleep.
4. You have used your income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid.
5. You have made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling.
6. You have broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your gambling.
7. You have borrowed money to finance your gambling.
8. You have felt depressed or suicidal because of your gambling losses.
9. You have been remorseful after gambling.
10. You have gambled to get money to meet your financial obligations.

If you or someone you know answers “Yes”

Tips on Responsible Gambling:

If you’re concerned that gambling is becoming more than a game for you, try using these guidelines to moderate your play.

  • Think of the money you lose as the cost of your entertainment. Consider any money you win a bonus.
  • Set a dollar limit and stick to it.
  • Set a time limit and stick to it. Leave when you reach your limit, whether you’re winning or losing.
  • Understand that you’ll probably lose, and accept the loss as part of the game.
  • Don’t borrow money to gamble.
  • Don’t let gambling interfere with or become a substitute for family, friends or work.
  • Don’t chase losses. Chances are you’ll lose even more trying to recoup your losses.
  • Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain.
  • Know the warning signs of problem gambling.

What to do if you think you may have a problem with gambling:

If playing isn’t fun anymore, call for help. National Problem Gambling HelpLine: Free. Confidential. 24 hours a day.7 days a week. 1-800-522-4700

Resources Available in Massachusetts:

How to help a friend or loved one with a gambling problem:

How to spot the signs:

Would you know a gambling problem if you saw it in a friend, loved one, coworker, patient or student? It’s important to know the signs because 3 percent of the population may have a problem, which puts them and their families at financial and emotional risk. Here are some warning signs.

  • Preoccupied with gambling and unable to stop
  • Bragging about gambling, exaggerating wins and minimizing losses
  • Restless and irritable when not gambling
  • Gambling to win back what you’ve lost
  • Borrowing money for gambling
  • Lying to hide time spent gambling or unpaid debts
  • Frequent unexplained absences
  • Losing work time because of gambling
  • Doing something illegal to get money for gambling
  • Jeopardizing a significant relationship or job by gambling

Keep It In Perspective

Problem gambling is not a bad habit or a moral weakness. It is a serious condition, but with treatment, problem gamblers can put the game in perspective and make decisions to improve their lives.