The Warning Signs of a Gambling Addiction

Gambling is putting something of value on a random event with the intention of winning something else of value. This activity can range from lottery tickets or scratch-offs, to placing a bet on a horse race or football game in the sports book at a casino, to online poker, slot machines or putting together a fantasy team in a sport. It can be an enjoyable pastime, but it’s also a dangerous form of entertainment that can lead to serious problems for many people.

The problem with gambling is that it can become addictive, causing a person to spend more and more money in an attempt to win more. It can take people away from their family, cause them to borrow or steal money to gamble and even destroy relationships in the process. It can be very difficult to break the habit of gambling and it’s important to understand the warning signs so that you can take steps to quit if needed.

People who have a gambling addiction can come from any background or age. They can be rich or poor, young or old, male or female, and they can be from rural or urban areas. Problem gambling can affect anyone regardless of race or religion, education level, income, and social class. It can happen in big cities or small towns and in homes, bars, and casinos.

Those who have a gambling problem often feel the need to keep their habit secret and lie about how much they gamble. They might also try to convince others that they can’t control their gambling or that they are due for a big win, and they may increase their bets in an effort to recoup their losses. This is called chasing losses and it’s a common sign of a gambling addiction.

When you are ready to stop gambling, start by setting a budget and sticking to it. Determine how much you are willing to lose and make sure to only use cash or a credit card with someone else in charge of managing it. Avoid reloadable cards and mobile betting apps that allow you to wager with more than your budget allows. Remove your cards from your phone or computer so that they can’t autofill at gambling websites and only carry a small amount of cash with you when you go to gamble. Avoid free cocktails and other temptations, too. They are a trap for the unprepared gambler. Lastly, always tip your dealers. They do a lot of work and deserve a little extra cash for their help.