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Problem Gambling Prevention Awareness Month
What is problem gambling?
Problem gambling – or gambling addiction – includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are 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. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide.
Isn’t problem gambling really the result of irresponsible or weak-willed people?
No. Many people who develop problems have been viewed as responsible and strong by those who care about them. 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 the workplace, a serious problem already exists.
How much money do you have to lose before gambling becomes a problem?
The amount of money lost or won does not determine when gambling becomes a problem. Gambling becomes a problem when it causes a negative impact on any area of the individual’s life.
Can you be a problem gambler if you don’t gamble every day?
The frequency of a person’s gambling does not determine whether or not they have a gambling problem. 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.
FAQ from the National Council on Problem Gambling, www.ncpgambling.org