Gambling Addiction


Various factors may contribute to the development of gambling addiction, including family attitudes, social circumstances, and personal characteristics. The less gambling-related exposure a child receives, the lower the risk of developing a gambling addiction. Furthermore, children often mimic the behavior of their parents, so parents who play frequently may send mixed messages to their children about the importance of avoiding gambling. If a parent has a history of gambling, a child is likely to mimic it as well.

Gambling costs the state more than the tax revenues it produces, and it creates perverse incentives and conflicts of interest when this money is used to fund worthy causes. Public education, for example, is funded through lottery revenues, and teaching probability would cut into lottery revenues. For this reason, responsible gambling is critical. Responsible gambling is defined as understanding the odds and knowing when to quit. Fortunately, the vast majority of Canadians enjoy gambling to some extent, but it can be harmful to your family.

Despite this, the amount of money wagered legally each year is estimated to be as much as $10 trillion annually, and the total number of illegal activities may be higher. The biggest form of gambling in the world, lottery, is the most popular type. States in the United States and Europe have accelerated their expansion of state-operated lotteries in the last century. Nearly every European country, as well as several South American and Australian countries, offer organized football pools. Likewise, most countries offer state-licensed betting on other sporting events.

The effects of problem gambling are not only physical but also psychological. The urge to gamble is so strong that the sufferer needs to play more to achieve the same high. This spirals into a vicious cycle that further reduces the person’s control over their urge to gamble. Further, problem gambling has an adverse effect on a person’s health and the relationships with others. It may even lead to attempts at suicide. It’s imperative that gambling be addressed by a professional, or it can damage a person’s life and health.

Gambling addiction can also be an excuse for self-soothing, or an escape from unpleasant feelings. Moreover, it may also serve as a distraction from a stressful situation. Consequently, it is imperative to build a solid support system, and to develop new friendships outside of the gambling world. For example, it is important to remove credit cards or other sources of debt from your life and to make payments through a bank account. Another good option is to join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which follows the 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. A sponsor in a gambling group is a person who has overcome his or her addiction and can offer guidance.

Legalizing gambling in the U.S. is possible only in 48 states, and many jurisdictions have a ban or strict regulation on the practice. Hawaii and Utah, however, have large Mormon populations that inhibit gambling and have strict regulations. Residents of these states are concerned about the negative impact gambling can have on their family relationships. In addition, Idaho has little interest in legalizing gambling. If legalized in your state, gambling in casinos and poker sites will be a lucrative activity for the state.