Q: How do I know if I have a gambling problem?
A: “Problem gambling” includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt, or damage personal, family, or career pursuits. Typically problem gamblers will have an increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more often, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control – continuing gambling in spite of mounting serious negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide.
Q: Is gambling an addiction?
A: The American Psychiatric Association uses the term “pathological gambling” to describe a persistent and recurring failure to resist gambling behavior that is harmful to yourself and concerned others.
Q: How can a person be addicted to something that isn’t a substance?
A: The problem gambler gets the same effect from gambling that others get from alcohol or drugs – an emotional, psychological or adrenaline “high.” The gambler soon finds that it takes more and more of the gambling experience to achieve the same emotional effect as before, comparable to drug addiction. SO, the person gambles more and more to get the same desired effect and therefore, has less and less ability to resist as the craving grows in intensity and frequency.
Q: How many people are considered pathological gamblers?
A: Two million (1%) of adults in the U.S. are estimated to be pathological gamblers in a given year. Another four to six million (2-3%) would be considered “problem gamblers,” meaning they are experiencing problems due to their gambling. It is estimated about 1 million Californians have a gambling problem.
Q: Isn’t problem gambling just a financial problem?
A: No. Problem gambling is an emotional problem that has financial consequences. If you pay all of a problem gambler’s debts, they will just go out and get into the same situation again. We need to treat the problem – the addiction – not just the symptoms.
Q: What problems can gambling lead to?
A: 20% of adult and youth gambling addicts commit or attempt suicide. 60% of gambling addicts commit crimes, mostly to fund their gambling. 20% of addicted gamblers have filed for bankruptcy. 63% of gambling addicts are alcoholics. Up to 50% of spouses of addicted gamblers are abused.
Q: What kind of people become problem gamblers?
A: Anyone who gambles can develop problems if they are not aware of the risks and do not gamble responsibly. When gambling behavior interferes with finances, relationships, and career, a serious problem already exists.
Q: What types of gambling causes the most problems?
A: Because the problem is emotional/psychological, any type of gambling can become problematic, just as an alcoholic can get drunk on any type of alcohol.
Q: Can I be a problem gambler if I don’t gamble every day?
A: Yes. Even though the problem gambler may only go on periodic gambling binges, the emotional and financial consequences will still be evident in the gambler’s life, including the effects on the family.
Q: How much money do I have to lose before gambling becomes a problem?
A: The amount of money lost or won does not matter. Gambling becomes a problem when it causes a negative impact on any area of the individual’s life.
Proverbs 28:22 He that hastens to be rich has an evil eye, and considers not that poverty shall come on him.
Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loves abundance with increase: that is also vanity.
Exodus 20:15,17 You shall not steal. You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor’s.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:2, 5-6 Set your mind on things above, on things on the earth . . . Put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.