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Responsible Gaming: Problem Gambling

Understanding the Signs of Problem Gambling is Important to Fighting Addiction

What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling, also known as compulsive gambling or gambling addiction, is a behavioral disorder that can have severe consequences for individuals and their families. It is characterized by an excessive urge to gamble, even when the person knows it is causing harm to their life. This condition affects millions of people worldwide and can cause financial ruin, emotional distress, and social isolation.

Problem gambling is often caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Studies have shown that individuals who have a family history of gambling problems are more likely to develop this condition themselves. Similarly, people who have experienced trauma or stress in their lives, such as a divorce or job loss, may turn to gambling as a way to cope with their emotions.

Why Problem Gambling is an Area of Focus in 2024

Problem gambling has become a significant concern of mental health experts since the US Supreme Court's 2018 decision to expand betting in America. Compulsive gambling goes beyond losing money, as problem gamblers exhibit behavioral addictions that can cause issues for family and friends, such as bankruptcy, legal problems, substance abuse, and mental health problems.

When gambling money, recognizing the signs of pathological gambling and the risk factors associated with severe gambling problems can help avoid problem gambling behavior.

Signs of a Gambling Disorder

The negative consequences of having serious gambling problems include risking a significant relationship with a spouse, loved ones, and even children. By having trouble controlling money gambling, players can place an incredible burden on family members to restore the family's financial health.

Here are a few signs of problem gambling that could signal a gambling disorder:

  • Withdrawn from family life and activities with family members.
  • Gamble with increasing amounts of money to create desired excitement.
  • Reliving past gambling experiences with the hope of recovering lost bankroll by betting more money.
  • Becomes restless or irritable when not money gambling.
  • Finding alternative methods to finance gambling, such as risky, high-interest loans.

If you are showing signs of problem gambling, the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 offers 24-hour service to help compulsive gamblers stop gambling and receive information to take the next steps to recover from dangerous gambling activities.

What to do When You Have A Gambling Problem

When losing money gambling, players can easily create a compulsive gambling disorder by trying to recover lost money in uncontrollable ways. Realizing that gambling affects more than yourself remains the best chance for someone with problem gambling and gambling behavioral addictions to recover and live a healthy life.

Players exhibiting moderate gambling problems can use the services of Gamblers Anonymous. By attending a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, players with problem gambling behaviors can find peer support with individuals who have struggled with mental disorders created or fueled by problem gambling.

After repeated unsuccessful efforts to stop gambling, you will need to seek the help of a mental health professional specializing in addictive disorders. By finding the root cause of the gambling problem, whether it be an obsessive-compulsive disorder or some other pathological gambling issue, the therapist can place you on the road back to healthy behavior that improves the lives of yourself and everyone around you.

How to Improve Your Gambling Behavior

One of the best ways to prevent problem gambling is by setting healthy habits and boundaries when you frequent online gambling sites.

Problem gambling begins when the bettor doesn't exhibit discipline in their wagering, instead chasing some mythical goal or feeling that they can never, in reality, acquire.

Set Time and Money Limits

By managing money and time spent on gambling apps, you can prevent becoming a compulsive gambler and treat betting as entertainment rather than allow gambling to become an addictive behavior.

By setting time and money limits on your sports betting or online casino app, you can bet within your limits and avoid long-term money problems associated with problem gambling.

Use Self-Exclusion Tools

State regulators require all regulated online apps to include self-exclusion safeguards to prevent problem gambling and provide you with tools to stop gambling safely.

At any time, players can enter into self-exclusion tools on their online apps to stop gambling and take a mental health break. By improving environmental factors and engaging in active, healthy methods to postpone gambling over time, players can avoid an increased risk of entering into possible desperate financial situations that wrecks family finances and could create broken relationships.