What is “Problem Gambling”? Posted On

We often get the question, what really is “problem gambling”?  It may seem like a vague, confusing term, but in reality, it’s fairly simple:

Problem gambling is when your gambling activities cause a problem in yours, or someone else’s, life.

Many people gamble socially and never experience problems due to their gambling.  You may have heard this referred to as “social gambling,” “responsible gambling”, or “low-risk gambling”.  People who gamble in this manner follow a number of guidelines:

  • Set limits on time and money spent gambling
  • Never gamble alone
  • Only use entertainment budget monies for gambling
  • Always expect to lose
  • Never gamble under the influence of alcohol or drugs

The first time many of us gamble, it’s for the social atmosphere and the entertainment.  We’re often able to control the time and money we spend gambling.  So, when does the gambling become a problem?

When gambling causes a problem in yours, or someone else’s, life, it’s a problem.

When we don’t set limits on the time and money we spend gambling, gamble alone, or expect to win, we can experience a number of negative consequences:

  • Lost relationships with friends and family
  • Loss of home, car, or other financial assets
  • Deteriorating health due to lack of sleep, omission of medications, and poor nutrition
  • Feelings of anxiousness and depression
  • Thoughts of suicide

The bottom line is, if you are experiencing any negative consequences due to your gambling, it’s time to reach out.

If you, or someone you know, wants help or more information call or text the NYS HOPEline today.

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The NYS HOPEline is available 24/7 for anyone who is negatively affected by their own, or someone else’s, gambling. 


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