For many people, gambling can be a harmless form of entertainment. It can include card games, sporting events, trips to the casino, lottery tickets, bingo and so many other activities. However, for some people, gambling can become a problem when it starts to negative impact their life. People from all cultures, races, ethnicities, gender and ages can experience negative effects from gambling.
According to the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling (2013), about 4% of people who gamble will develop a gambling problem.
When gambling begins to negatively impact a person’s life, this is known as problem gambling. Problem gambling occurs when gambling behaviors negatively impact a person’s work, family, health, spirituality or mental well-being. Many times problem gambling is referred to as gambling addiction or compulsive or pathological gambling, but not everyone who experiences negative consequences from gambling develops gambling addiction or pathological gambling.
Gambling addiction occurs when a person experiences: increased thoughts about gambling, a need to risk more or larger quantities of money, irritability if not able to gamble, a need to win back or “chase” money that was lost, and gambling continues in spite of negative consequences (Indiana Council on Problem Gambling, 2013).
Here is a link to a Gambler’s Anonymous self-assessment to help determine if there is a gambling problem: