Having fun or is it a gambling problem?
To keep gambling safe, remember the characteristics of recreational gambling.
- 1. It's about fun, not about financial gain. Responsible gamblers use a certain amount of money that they've set aside for entertainment. They are not worried about how to pay their bills if they lose this money.
- 2. It's social. Problem gamblers often begin to act evasively or secretively-not wanting others to know how much time, energy, and money is going towards gambling. Responsible gamblers care more about time spent with their friends and playing a game together than winning or losing.
- 3. There are limits on time. Responsible gamblers limit the amount of time they spend playing games or engaging in other forms of gambling. They do not sit down for an hour to gamble and find themselves still at the table four or five hours later.
- 4. Set limits on money. Problem gamblers may begin emptying out their checking accounts, selling valuable possessions, or borrowing money from friends in order to keep gambling. Responsible gamblers have set aside a certain amount of money for entertainment; when that money is gone, they quit playing.
Are you wondering whether you have (or a friend has) a gambling problem? Here are some warning signs to watch out for:
- You routinely exceed the limit you set for yourself for the amount of money you will spend on gambling.
- You constantly are in search of a gambling "rush."
- You neglect school or work because you're preoccupied with gambling.
- You're constantly borrowing money from friends or family to gamble or to pay gambling debts.
- You've spent money on gambling while letting bills go unpaid.
- You can't stop gambling once you start.
- You find yourself lying to your family or friends about how much you gamble or how much you've lost.
- You often gamble longer than you had planned.
- You are losing sleep because you're thinking about gambling.
If these warning signs apply to you, or to a family member, friend, or roommate, consider getting help.
Gamblers Anonymous publishes a list of 20 questions to help you determine if you are a problem gambler. Most problem gamblers answer "yes" to at least seven of the questions.