Learn More About Problem Gambling
If you think you have a problem with gambling, if you’re a family member of a problem gambler, or simply want to learn more about problem gambling and its impacts, this page is a good starting point to find resources and more information.
Ten Warning Signs of a Gambling Problem
1 ) You cannot stop gambling, even when it’s hurting you
2 ) You bet money you cannot afford to lose
3 ) You bet other people’s money
4 ) You steal to bet
5 ) Gambling is all you think about
6 ) Gambling is the main way you escape
7 ) Asking others to bail you out when you gambled money away
8 ) Lying about the time and money you spend gambling
9 ) Gambling more after a loss to win back the loss
10 ) Gambling is killing your relationships
"Casinos are fun, friendly places where they call me by my first name."
A casino is a business that exists to get as much money from each customer as possible. Most casinos offer customer loyalty cards to acquire personal information about each customer in an effort to keep them playing.
"My secret lucky number is going to win."
An analysis of lottery play indicates that people who pick numbers based on date of birth or other special numbers are less likely to win than those numbers entered based on random computerized selection.
"The ability to dream is well worth the price of a lottery ticket."
Lottery advertising often attracts the people who can least afford the money to pay for a lottery ticket.
"I have a feeling that today is my lucky day. I just know I am going to win."
Hoping, wishing or needing to win money has absolutely no influence on the outcome of a game of chance.
"If I play more than one slot machine, hand of poker or Daily Fantasy Sports game at a time, I'll increase my chances of winning."
A gambler may win more often playing multiple games – but make no mistake, a gambler will spend more and lose more doing so. Over time, the more you gamble, the more you lose.
"Problem gamblers gamble every day."
You may only gamble once a week or once a month, but it is the emotional and financial consequences of your actions that signal a gambling addiction.
"Disordered gambling is just a financial problem."
Disordered gambling is an emotional problem with financial consequences.
"People with money to lose can't ever have a gambling problem."
Compulsive gambling interferes with all areas of your life – family, friends and work.
"It's easy to recognize a problem gambler."
The disordered gambler has very few obvious symptoms. A gambling addiction, unlike drugs and alcohol, is easy to hide, especially an online gambling addiction.
"My favorite slot machine is so close to winning."
Called the "near miss," slot machines are programmed to look as if the player almost won a jackpot to keep the bettor losing.
"I am in control."
The mathematicians and software programmers who design today's games make certain gamblers, as a whole, will lose and that the company which owns the game comes out ahead.
"My luck will change if I just keep playing."
The mathematicians and software programmers design today’s gambling with odds that remain fixed and static; the probability of winning remains the same with every turn. The illusion that the odds will get better the longer one plays is named the 'gamblers fallacy.'
"I know I will win again because I won once."
The mathematicians and software programmers who design today's games keep people playing by allowing them to win a little bit once in a while, creating the illusion that the gambler is winning when in reality, the gambler is losing. They call this "losses disguised as wins."
Which is a true statement for you?
Do you believe you have to stop gambling before you can make progress on a gambling problem?
You are eligible for our program if you continue to gamble because you can make meaningful changes to your gambling even as you continue to gamble. GAP services do not require abstinence from gambling to get help.
Do you believe you have lost all control over your gambling?
Everyone deserves to take control of their lives. Control is something you can learn and practice, the confidence comes as you get good at it.
Did you believe gambling could harm you when you first gambled?
The majority of our clients learned to gamble from their friends and families when they were young. They never thought they would develop a gambling problem.
Do you believe a gambling problem is a behavior you can change?
You can change a gambling problem. People are attracted to the idea that overcoming a gambling problem allows them to grow and change for the better.
Do you believe gambling is the problem if you feel good when you are gambling but you feel bad when you stop?
Losing oneself in gambling is the quickest path to a gambling problem. As gamblers lose all track of time and place, they will continue to gamble. Being lost in this “zone” offers a great escape. But as you keep gambling, the financial losses will also escape your notice until you stop gambling. By then, you’ve racked up inescapable financial losses.
Do you believe you can be stronger and more resilient after changing your gambling than someone who has never had a gambling problem at all?
One GAP counselor’s observation after 20 years of helping Nebraskans and their families who suffer a gambling problem: You will be stronger when we’re done than someone who has never had a gambling problem. She has seen this growth in clients happen again and again.
Do you believe it is worth trying to change your gambling?
Most people are willing to try to change, even when they know trying will be difficult.
Beliefs can be stronger than facts, especially when we are struggling with a gambling problem. Your beliefs can stop you from taking action to control a habit that has taken over your life. Many people can break the problem gambling cycle on their own. But if you’d like to work with an experienced problem gambling counselor, please click here.