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Enjoy legal online gaming responsibly.
Help is available 24 hours a day, every day. Call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) for assistance.
For additional local resources, please see below.
Like many other addictions, problem gambling is rooted in an uncontrollable urge and obsession, which if left unchecked, can lead to financial hardship.
Unfortunately, one of the most common symptoms of this disease is deception; problem gamblers will go to great lengths to hide the problem, not just from others, but also from themselves. As a result, detection can come late after adverse effects are revealed and with dire consequences.
A negative, vicious cycle often develops, wherein the gambler seeks relief or even a solution through increased gambling. The ensuing financial and emotional deterioration affects every aspect of a bettor's life from family and friends to business colleagues and associates.
Compulsive gambling is a disease that does not discriminate. Anyone is susceptible regardless of gender, age, race, or financial status. Fortunately, once detected, it is an addiction that can be successfully treated. Take some time to first understand How Gambling Works.
⦁ Preoccupied with gambling (i.e. reliving past gambling experiences, planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
⦁ Secretive about his/her gambling habits, and defensive when confronted
⦁ Increasing bet amounts when gambling in order to achieve the desired excitement (“high”)
⦁ Trying unsuccessfully to control, cut back, or stop gambling
⦁ Restless or irritable when not gambling
⦁ “Chasing” losses with more gambling
⦁ Lying to family and others about the extent of gambling
⦁ Committing crimes to finance gambling
⦁ Jeopardizing or losing relationships, jobs, education or career opportunities because of gambling
⦁ Relying on others to bail him or her out to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling.
⦁ Remember: It's Paid Entertainment
Gambling is a fun form of entertainment, but it’s important to think of it in the same way you might buy a movie ticket or a fair ride. It’s exciting during the experience, and if you happen to win something extra, that’s great. But the point is to enjoy the core time and experience.
⦁ Set a Money Limit
It can be hard to keep track of money in the heat of the moment. That's why it's important to set a gambling budget - one that will leave you plenty of cash for your normal expenses - and stick to it. If you go through all your money, it's time to stop.
⦁ Set a Time Limit
Whether you’re winning or losing, time seems to run at a different pace when you’re gambling. Make sure that you set a time limit for your gambling, making time for other exciting or important activities.
⦁ Don’t Chase Losses
Some days you’re up and some days you’re down. As long as you stay within your gambling budget, it should still be fine. It’s important you avoid gambling more in the hope of making back lost money. This is called chasing losses and can lead to problem gambling.
⦁ Avoid Becoming Too Superstitious
Remember that gambling is all about luck and chance, and no amount of superstition will change the outcomes. Also, being lucky or unlucky in gambling does not relate to your overall luck as a human being!
⦁ Never Fall for the Gambler’s Fallacy
Each outcome in any game of chance is independent of what happened before it. Don’t assume that results will change just because of how the game has gone so far.
⦁ Learn the Rules and Odds of the Games
Some games are more entertaining than others for certain people, no matter the odds. Learn the rules and understand the odds of the games you enjoy.
⦁ Don’t Play with Money You Don’t Have
Whether it’s using a credit card or borrowing from friends and family, never play with money you don’t have. It’s meant to be a fun pastime, so if you can’t afford it, it’s best not to gamble at all.
⦁ Avoid Gambling Under the Influence
Gambling is often paired with a fun atmosphere, complete with all the usual party essentials. But whether you’re under the influence of alcohol, or a high roller friend on a winning streak, avoid gambling while intoxicated. Your decisions won’t be as good, and you might play beyond your money or time limits.
⦁ Gamble During the Good Times
Gambling should be fun and exciting, best enjoyed with friends. If it becomes an escape during depression or hard times, it’s more likely to become a problem. So, enjoy gambling during the good times, but don’t fall back on it to solve your issues when times are tough.
⦁ Myth: You have to gamble every day to be a problem gambler.
Fact: A problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently. If a person’s gambling is causing psychological, financial, emotional, marital, legal, or other difficulties for themselves and the people around them, then they have a gambling problem.
⦁ Myth: Problem gamblers gamble at any opportunity on any form of gambling.
Fact: Most problem gamblers have a favorite form of gambling that causes them problems. Some gamblers also engage in secondary forms of gambling, but these are not usually as problematic.
⦁ Myth: Problem gambling is not really a problem if the gambler can afford it.
Fact: Many problem gamblers hold, or have held, responsible community positions. In addition, even people with a long history of responsible behavior are vulnerable to developing a gambling problem. When a person is having a problem gambling episode, that person is unable to control their gambling and in this compromised state their actions look like irresponsible behavior.
⦁ Myth: Children are not affected by problem gambling.
Fact: Surveys show that about 10% to 15% of American and Canadian youth have experienced gambling-related problems and 1% to 6% of these individuals may satisfy diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. Additionally, children of problem gamblers have been shown to be at a higher risk of developing health-related behaviors. This includes alcohol and drug use, problem gambling, eating disorders, depression, and suicide.
⦁ Myth: Partners of problem gamblers often drive problem gamblers to gamble.
Fact: Problem gamblers are skilled in finding ways to rationalize their gambling. Blaming others is one way to avoid taking responsibility for actions, including actions needed to overcome the gambling problem.
⦁ Myth: Financial problems are the main reason that problem gamblers’ relationships break down.
Fact: It is true that money problems play an important part in ending relationships, however, many non-gambling partners say that the lies and lack of trust is the biggest cause.
⦁ Myth: Parents of problem gamblers are to blame for their children’s behavior.
Fact: Many parents of problem gamblers feel hurt and guilty about their son’s or daughter’s gambling behavior, but they are not to blame.
⦁ Myth: If a problem gambler builds up a debt, the important thing to do is to help them get out of the financial problem as soon as possible.
Fact: Quick-fix solutions are often attractive to everyone involved and may appear to be the right thing to do, however, “bailing” the gambler out of debt may actually make matters worse by enabling gambling problems to continue.
⦁ Myth: Problem gambling is easy to recognize.
Fact: Problem gambling has been called the hidden addiction. It is very easy to hide as it has few recognizable symptoms, unlike alcohol and drug use. Many problem gamblers themselves do not recognize they have a gambling problem. Problem gamblers often engage in self-denial.
Family and Relationship Risks
· Families usually have more arguments over money and get hounded by debt collectors.
· Problem gamblers might miss family activities, including meals, birthdays, and other important events.
· “Casino kids” sometimes are left in cars at gambling venues while a parent bets.
· Increased arguments within the family.
· Compulsive gamblers more often provoke reactive violence in their spouses.
· Children of problem gamblers typically have lower grades, higher substance abuse rates, and more frequent suicide attempts.
· Children of problem gamblers could be more likely to develop gambling problems themselves.
· Problem gamblers are more likely to become separated or divorced.
· Increasing debts.
· “Maxed-out” credit cards.
· Overdue utility bills might result in cut-offs.
· Borrowing from family and friends.
· Pawning personal and family valuables.
· Passing bad checks.
· Eviction and forced home sales.
· Self-esteem declines as losses increase.
· Problem gamblers suffer more from stress, anxiety, moodiness, attention deficit hyperactivity, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and manic and clinical depression.
· Some physical problems experienced by problem gamblers include muscular tension, fatigue, stomach ailments, insomnia, colitis, high blood pressure, heart disease, migraines, and skin problems.
· Problem gamblers are more likely to smoke.
· Problem gamblers are likely to use alcohol or other drugs to cope with the guilt or desperate situation.
· High proportions of problem gamblers seriously consider, or even attempt, suicide.
· Problem gamblers often show up late for work.
· Some problem gamblers skip entire work days to gamble.
· They are more likely to take sick leave.
· Problem Gamblers usually experience decreased productivity as they often daydream about gambling or use the Internet at work to gamble.
· They are more likely to ask employers for pay advances, borrow money from fellow employees, steal from work, and embezzle.
· There is a real risk of losing your job as a result of your gambling behavior due to high levels of sickness, absenteeism, and misuse of company time.
THERE ARE ALSO A NUMBER OF SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS AVAILABLE WHICH OFFER VALUABLE INFORMATION AND ADVICE ACROSS A RANGE OF AREAS, SUCH AS:
⦁ The National Council on Problem Gambling- Serves as the national advocate for programs and services to assist people and families affected by problem gambling. 1-800-522-4700 or www.ncpgambling.org
⦁ Gamblers Anonymous - Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who have joined together to do something about their own gambling problem and help other problem and compulsive gamblers do the same. There are regional fellowships around the world. Gamblers Anonymous may be reached at www.gamblersanonymous.org
⦁ Gam-Anon information and meetings at Home (gam-anon.org)
⦁ Suicide Prevention Lifeline – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Dial 211 in AL
Local Gamblers Anonymous hotlines:
Birmingham: (205) 824-2473Mobile: (251) 518-7222
Montgomery: (334) 399-6918
Arizona Council On Compulsive Gambling
Arizona Office of Problem Gambling
Spanish: (888) 665-8346
Phoenix: (602) 266-9784
Tucson: (520) 570-7879
California Council On Problem Gambling
California Department Of Public Health: Office of Problem Gambling
Text (321) 978-0555
Text (888) ADMIT-IT
Gamblers Anonymous hotlines:
Atlanta Korean language: (678) 431-6600
Georgia: (404) 237-7281
Marietta/Douglasville: (404) 641-5327
Louisville: (855) 222-5542
Lexington: (513) 322-5998
Maryland Council on Problem Gambling
Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling
Billings: (406) 860-8287
Helena: (406) 431-1663
Lincoln: (402) 473-7933
Omaha: (402) 978-7557
Carson City: (775) 882-8222
Reno: (775) 356-8070
New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling
Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico
Statewide: (919) 460-9039
Greensboro/Winston-Salem: (336) 681-8516
Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline
Problem Gambling Network of Ohio
Cincinnati: (855) 222-5542
Toledo: (419) 327-9514
Youngstown: (330) 505-5060
Oklahoma Association on Problem Gambling and Gaming
Smart Play OK
Gamblers Anonymous Memphis hotline: (901) 438-3695
Austin: (512) 860-2958
Dallas/Fort Worth: (817) 371-0624
Houston: (855) 442-7105
San Antonio: (210) 705-4429
Gamblers Anonymous Staunton hotline: (540) 221-6863
Madison: (608) 283-5800
Wausau: (715) 297-5317