Problem Gambling: When Winning Doesn’t Make You Stronger Posted On

“But it’s okay if I’m winning, right?”

“I’m overdue for a win. It’ll happen any time.”

“I’ll just win my money back and be done.”

These are common feelings many problem gamblers have.

Beginner’s luck might make someone feel like his or her frequent gambling is okay, because they’ve won before, even though winning is unlikely to continue.

Or, gambler’s fallacy might make someone feel like they’ve lost so much, his or her luck is about to change. Unfortunately, this thought often leads to more and more bets lost, with financial and emotional consequences accumulating in the meantime.

Often, a problem gambler says that once he or she has won the financial losses back, the gambling will stop. Unfortunately, why people continue to gamble is not always about winning money – and winning a significant amount of money on a bet does not make the problem gambler ready to stop gambling.

Disordered gambling – whether you are winning or not – can have significant consequences on you, your loved ones and your friends.

Winning and Pride

In our latest e-book, Latino Communities and Problem Gambling, we discussed machismo – how male gender roles in Latino communities may cause men to avoid being emotional and refrain from talking about their problems or flaws.

This sense of pride – and the fear of discussing losses with family members and friends – crosses cultures and genders. Wins, however, are discussed more openly. In fact, an increase in talk about winning bets, or having money due to winning, is a significant sign of problem gambling. Any initial pleasure in winning can contribute to a desire to win more – and that is where the problem gambling cycle begins for many people, driving their attention away from loved ones and their responsibilities.

Today, we encourage you to share your stories of problem gambling, in the comments section below or on Facebook. How did winning and losing bets make you feel? When you did win, did you gamble more – and what happened next? By sharing your story, you can help problem gamblers understand that they are not alone. That the feelings and consequences they have experienced have been shared by others. That support is available, and that recovery is possible.

As the World Cup finals come closer, KnowTheOdds wants to remind you to stay safe. If you are a problem gambler or in recovery for gambling addiction and the final games of the World Cup are threatening your progress toward being gambling-free, call the NYS HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369). Help is available any time.