Gambling Addiction – How it Can Ruin Your Family and Business

It is hard to witness the destruction of a friend and his family as a result of an addiction. It is a helpless feeling. Hopefully, by sharing this story with you, you will be able to help a friend or loved one avoid this road to self destruction.

This friend, let’s call him Gary, enjoyed getting together with his friends on a Saturday night for an evening of playing pool. It seems innocent enough when he decided that we should all play for quarters. We all thought that this would make the game more fun and competitive, which it did.

Gary loved to win. The bigger the pot the bigger the celebration. Little did I know that this was the beginning of his gambling addiction.

You see, gambling addicts experience the same rush as a crack addict. That rush is created when they win. They begin to crave that feeling to the point where it dominates every waking moment.

Next we learned that Gary was skipping the pool games so that he could go to the local Indian casino where he enjoyed playing poker. We stopped getting together on the weekends. I saw Gary less and less. I later learned that Gary had taken to playing poker online every evening in front of his computer drinking and placing online bets.

Is it no surprise that soon Gary’s business was in trouble. He was neglecting his customers and his revenue was dropping. His creditors were calling. His wife couldn’t stand the stress. She left him.

These are the classic signs of a gambling addict. The gambling becomes a compulsion that defies logic and rational thought. The gambler seeks the gambling high at any cost. His or her life is ruined through the destruction of personal relationships and the burden of increasing debt.

I hope that you share this article with any person you think may be suffering from a gambling addiction. It may help them avoid the road to self-destruction. There are many self-help groups available and qualified counselors are willing to help. In fact, many casinos will have a 24 hour gambling addiction hotline available if you ask.

Do I Really Have a Gambling Problem?

I wanted to write an article on this topic because you probably have seen a lot of articles already written on how to identify whether or not you really have a gambling problem or gambling addiction.

Most of the time you will be asked to answer a series of questions, and if you say yes to most of these questions than you do indeed have a problem.This sounds very simple.:)

I truly believe that you do not have to answer a series of questions to know that you truly have a gambling problem. You probably think I am crazy for saying this, however, I will explain below why I truly believe this.

You will KNOW IN YOUR HEART that you have a gambling problem. You will KNOW IN YOUR HEART that your life is not the same as it used to me. You will also KNOW IN YOUR HEART that almost EVERYTHING in your life has changed for the worst. You will also KNOW IN YOUR HEART that it is your responsibility to yourself and to your family to stop destroying yourself.

When you have a gambling problem you will know it,deep in your heart of hearts. Everything in your life is different when you are gambling compulsively and additively. Every area of your life will truly have changed for the worst. And you will know this in your heart without answering a series of questions.

There is help for a gambling problem, and you are truly not alone in your addiction. Many people throughout the world suffer silently with a gambling addiction.This is a silent and secret addiction because nobody can smell it, or see it.

Do not continue to suffer with your gambling problem and try o get your life back. Gambling addiction has the highest rate of suicide, and it can also progress rapidly. Make a decision to start your recovery now. Contact your local gambling hotline, depending on your country, and get yourself some help. You are worth it.

Online Gambling in Atlantic City

For better or for worse, online gambling is coming to New Jersey.

In late February, Chris Christie officially signed into law a bill that legalized internet gambling in Atlantic City.

Initially the bill was vetoed by the Governor because of issues surrounding transparency and taxes. Lawmakers adjusted the text and the amended bill passed by an overwhelming majority in the legislature and earned Christie’s seal of approval.

Here are the basics of the bill:

- Casinos located in Atlantic City will be able to apply for a license to offer online gambling. Only the twelve official Atlantic City casinos will be eligible for the license. No other organizations can offer internet gambling, and face stiff fines if they do. All facilities used for the operation of internet gambling must be located within city limits; only bets that are received by a server in Atlantic City will be legal.

- Players must be “physically present” in New Jersey to place wagers. In the future, New Jersey may develop agreements with other states where internet gambling is legal to permit out-of-state gambling. The casino’s equipment must verify players’ locations before accepting wagers.

- Any games available to play in the casinos can be played online. (For comparison, Nevada only allows poker.) As of now, sports betting will not be protected by this bill, although the state of New Jersey is trying to fight the federal statute barring the legalization of sports betting.

- The bill has all kinds of provisions to keep gambling addiction at bay, such as requiring the prominent display of the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline number, a way to set maximum bets and losses over a certain period of time, and tracking player losses to identify and limit users who may demonstrate addictive gambling behavior.

Some Answers to Your Questions About Gambling Addiction

How Do I Know If I Have A Gambling Addiction?
You will know if you have a gambling addiction if gambling has affected your life negatively socially, emotionally, financially and spiritually. If you have gambled alone, and have missed work, lost more than you could afford, or lied about gambling, you more than likely have a gambling addiction. “Compulsive Gambling” is considered an impulse control disorder and is characterized by unstoppable thoughts and uncontrollable impulses to gamble. “Problem Gambling” is considered less severe than compulsive gambling, but it is still a very serious problem.

Someone in my family is addicted to gambling. What should I do?
There are many paths you could take when a family member is addicted to gambling. You can go to a gamanon meeting yourself to get 12 -Step support from other family members of gamblers.(Check links and resources). This might be a good first step in finding out how to approach your family member, since every situation is different. Please check resources page for more information on this topic.

I have a gambling addiction and I have lost a lot of money. I am in debt, and I do not know what to do. Can you help?
Going into debt is one of the biggest after-effects of a gambling addiction. It can effect the gambler long after he or she stops gambling and is one of the long-term consequences of gambling addiction. When you attend a Gamblers Anonymous 12-Step Group you can find support from trusted members on how to deal with your debt problems. Please also visit the links and resources page to find out more about debt and credit solutions as a result of your gambling addiction. Remember, gambling addiction is not a money problem.. it is an emotional and spiritual problem with financial consequences.

Can I have a gambling addiction if I go to the casino.. but mostly win?
Yes. There are 4 phases of a gambling addiction. 1. Winning Phase: Usually starts with a big win and a belief that good luck will continue indefinitely. 2. Losing Phase: More pre-occupied with gambling. You are gambling alone, missing work, lying about your whereabouts, and beginning to chase your losses. 3. Desperation Phase: This is truly characterized by a loss of control, preoccupation with gambling, defaulting on most debt, cheating or stealing,loss of job or primary relationship. 4. Hopeless Phase: You hit rock bottom. You may also start abusing drugs or alcohol. Suicide thoughts and attempts are common in this phase.

I gamble when I am lonely and depressed. How come?
You are most likely known as an “escape gambler” You gamble to escape emotional pain. Most “escape gamblers” can become addicted to slot machines, online gambling, and bingo. An “action gambler” is someone who enjoys risk taking and gambles on games of skill such as sports betting, the stock market, and cards. “Action-gamblers” have been traditionally male, however, the genders are becoming well represented in each group.

5 Tips to Stop You From a Gambling Addiction Relapse

Gambling addiction relapse is very common, especially during times of stress. There are many things that you can do to prevent yourself from a relapse from your gambling addiction. This list is far from complete, however, I believe that these are five strategies that have personally helped me from going back to the casino and pumping my heart-earned money back into a slot machine.

1. Pick up the phone and call a friend, family member, Gambling Hotline, or Gamblers Anonymous member when the urge hits. Usually when we have an urge to gamble we are really looking for some nurturing from those who love us. Sometimes just a conversation with someone who cares can help your gambling urge pass.

2. Try to find something constructive to do such as taking a walk, creating a new recipe, or even going to the mall or bookstore. Try to do something fun and stimulating since this will be replacing the gambling activity that you are trying to stop yourself from engaging in. Fill the void.. with something to keep you busy.

3. Get out a pencil and paper and write down what it felt like when you were driving home from the casino broke, despondent, angry, and depressed. Describe these feelings in detail. You will start to feel those horrible feelings by just writing these down.

4. Visualize in your mind the drive back from the casino. After writing, use this power of visualization to really experience those feelings. Spend a minute or two doing this. After writing down your thoughts and feelings, and then visualizing these, you will truly experience the physiological feelings of the drive back from the casino or other gambling venue. You will not feel good.. trust me.

5. Reward yourself for not gambling. Buy yourself a small gift or a book. Rent a movie and enjoy your time away from gambling. You will feel uplifted and proud of yourself for not giving into your gambling addiction impulse.