When Does Gambling Stop Being “Just for Fun” and Become Problem Gambling?
Many people consider gambling as a form of casual entertainment while others are consumed by every thought of it, so when does gambling stop being “just for fun” and become problem gambling? We’ve all had that moment when we just wanted to pull the arm of a slot machine, play a few hands of blackjack, or even buy the odd lottery ticket. Gambling can be fun in moderation, but when it gets to the point where one becomes obsessed with winning, casual gambling becomes problem gambling.
Gambling stops being fun when it turns from a casual activity to an obsession: consuming every thought where it’s all about winning and less about the experience. Relationships with family and friends become strained and you begin to lose contact with those who matter the most. It becomes a distraction at work because all you’re thinking about is the next game. But most of all, you’re main concern is “chasing the next win” so that you can pay your gambling debts. That is a dangerous, irresponsible approach to something meant purely for entertainment.
Not all doom and gloom befalls those who genuinely enjoy gambling for fun. There are proper ways to approach gambling and make it enjoyable rather than letting it control your life. The best mindset to have is to expect to lose. Casinos are an extremely profitable business and that’s because the house wins more often than you do! Before placing any bets, set limits as to how much you can afford to lose and decide how long you intend to be there. Having this mind set will stop gambling addiction before it even starts.
When gambling stops being fun, seek help from a community resource or counselling program. Dealing with the addiction first makes it easier to overcome financial problems and difficulties that result from overspending to satisfy the problem gambling. Gambling should be like spending money at the movies—you hope to see a good show, but in the end, you’ve been entertained.
The sooner you start dealing with your debt, the sooner you’ll have it paid off. If you need some help getting started with a plan, or if you’re not sure if your budget is realistic, contact a non-profit credit counsellor for free, confidential help. Typically, the earlier you contact us, the more options you’ll have.