Problem gamblers come from many backgrounds. They can be rich or poor, young or old. Problem gambling can affect people of every race, every religion and every education and income level. It happens in small towns or big cities.

To them, gambling has become an addiction — like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Problem gamblers find it extremely difficult to stop gambling. They believe they can “beat the odds” — even when their entire world begins to fall apart.

When they can’t stop – They:

  • Lose their money — all of it;
  • Lose their jobs — more than once;
  • Lose their families — it happens;
  • Even lose their lives — it’s true.

Some problem gamblers are easy to spot. They talk about betting all the time or continually look for ways to get gambling money. They may go to the racetrack every day or buy dozens of lottery tickets at once. But many problem gamblers hide their addiction.

People who have a gambling problem often show these warning signs. They:

  • Rely on others to get them out of debt;
  • Are absent or late for work or school;
  • Shop excessively or binge spend;
  • Have unexplained money or new possessions;
  • Are impatient with or ignore friends and family;
  • Delay payment of household bills;
  • Use credit cards for cash advances;
  • Sell possessions;
  • Steal money to gamble.

Many problem gamblers have a dual addiction — which means they gamble and they also have problems with things like alcohol or drugs.

Gamblers Anonymous offers the following questions to anyone who may have a gambling problem. These questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she is a compulsive gambler and wants to stop gambling.

Twenty Questions

  1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Did gambling affect your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
  6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
  8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
  9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
  10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
  12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
  13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
  14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
  17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
  19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.

Some times people think they may have a problem and after they read the questions they realize that they do. If you or someone you love has a problem there are resources available no matter where you live.

With any type of addiction the addict must admit that they have a problem. Many addicts are in denial of their problem. If you know someone who is addicted to gambling but refuses to help themselves there are organizations that can help you. When it becomes more than a game it is time to get help. There are many resources where a player can find help.