Recognition of Problem Gambling

Recognizing that you or someone you know may have a gambling problem can sometimes be a great challenge. Part of the reason it can be a challenge is because of how gambling is viewed in mainstream society, especially in comparison with other forms of addiction. This view is itself related to the wide variety of gambling forms that currently exist and the wide range of effects it produces.

When discussing gambling as a real or potential problem, many people think of trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City or a neighborhood casino, where enormous amounts of money are bet and lost. However, if we consider the nature of gambling more carefully or thoroughly, we find many other versions ranging from lottery tickets to sports betting, horse racing, company raffles and much more—all of which can include degrees of addiction and its negative consequences.

The simplest and therefore possibly best definition that I have learned in my problem gambling education is: problem gambling is gambling that causes a problem in your life. Put another way, problem gambling can be identified or recognized by the negative impact it has on one or more important parts of a person’s life.

The essential and most obvious area we see such a harmful impact made is on personal finances. However, both the addictive behavior and the financial loss affect many other aspects of an individual’s life, including, but not limited to, their mental and physical health, personal relationships and professional or work-life.

And while it is true that these affects occur in varying degrees, the sense that there is a problem, typically triggered by personal stress, is the first and most clear symptom and a possibility that can be verified by asking simple, closely related questions. A good example of this is the “Lie/Bet” test which asks:

Have you ever lied to someone close to you about your gambling


Have you felt the need to bet more and more money (despite the negative consequences)?

When a gambling problem is recognized it is almost always overwhelming and difficult to confront. And this is the simple, main reason why we offer help. If you need help recognizing or dealing with a gambling problem please contact us. Or, if you simply wish to get more information about the subject, simply click on the link below.