Are you Struggling with Problem Gambling? Posted On

Are you struggling with Problem Gambling?

What is the difference between a social gambling and a problem gambling?  It may be difficult to understand the difference between these different gambling classifications, but it’s actually quite simple once we break it down.  If you believe you,  or a loved one, may be struggling with problem gambling, this post may be able to help.

What is Gambling?

To better understand the different types of gambling classifications, we need to have a definition of gambling.  Gambling is to risk something of value on a game of chance in the hopes of a desired outcome.  Gambling always has an essence of chance involved, where a participant may lose whatever valued item they’ve risked.  For example, if a person purchases a scratch off ticket, they are risking the money they’re spending for the ticket on chance that the ticket will have a larger payout, which is the desired outcome.  

What is Social Gambling?

Social gambling is defines someone who enjoys gambling in social situations.  They, generally, enter a game with a limit of time they are willing to play, and a limit of money they are willing to risk.  They may be excited about the game they are going to play with friends, but this excitement doesn’t impede on other aspects of their life.  They continue going to work, take care of their household duties, and enjoy any number of additional recreational activities.

For social gambling, gambling is seen as a form of entertainment, and not as a source of revenue.  The social gambler understands that there is a bigger risk of losing than winning. Social gamblers make up a majority of gamblers, but, as our lives change and we face different difficulties, we may transition from a social gamber into a problem gambler.  

What is Problem Gambling?

Gambling is a problem if it causes any problems in a person’s life.  A person who struggles with problem gambling has begun to rely on gambling to feel good, to escape their troubles, and/or use gambling as a way to recoup their losses.  One way to evaluate whether or not someone is struggling with problem gambling is to realize whether or not gambling has begun to have a negative impact on their life.  

  • Is their relationship struggling?  
  • Is their performance, and attendance, at work declining?  
  • Are they able to pay their monthly bills?  Are they able to focus, or is their attention constantly on gambling?  

These are just some questions to think about when evaluating whether someone is a social gambler, or if they are running into problem gambling.  

A person struggling may not realize they are struggling with problem gambling because they may not realize how their new choices are affecting those around them.  They may not realize that they are thinking about gambling all the time.  They may not realize that they are spending more money and time around gambling.  If their gambling choices are negatively affecting their life, then they are struggling with problem gambling.  

The easiest way for someone to determine whether or not they struggle with problem gambling is to use the Lie-Bet Test.  

The Lie-Bet Test is comprised of two questions:

  • Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
  • Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?

If you answered “yes” to either one of those questions, it may be time to seek a professional evaluation and find out if you are struggling with problem gambling.  If you are, there are many professional clinicians who are specifically trained to work with those struggling with problem gambling, or have been diagnosed with gambling disorder.

Once a person’s gambling habit has become a problem, they need to seek professional help.  If you, or someone you know, is struggling with problem gambling, please call the New York State HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY, or 1-877-846-7369, and someone will be available to assist you to find the help you need.