Problem gambling is any gambling behaviour that is causing trouble in your life or the lives of people close to you (like parents, brothers and sisters, or friends). If your gambling is causing you to miss school or work, have arguments with family or friends, or worry about money you have lost, gambling is a problem for you.
No. Most people gamble responsibly, with no problems. But for some, gambling becomes a very important part of their lives and does become a problem. Gambling problems can range from minor to quite serious. Gambling can cause the odd problem like making it hard to pay the utility bill, the rent, or a credit card bill. Sometimes these problems get bigger and more serious, like causing a lot of debt, problems with friends and family, and even doing things that are illegal.
There’s no way of knowing who will develop a gambling problem. Anyone who gambles can develop a gambling problem. Problem gamblers can be rich or poor, young or old, male or female; there is just no way of telling ahead of time. Plus, many people gamble without ever having a problem. They buy a lottery or raffle ticket, go to the racetrack or an evening of bingo, and drop the odd loonie into a VLT. When the raffle or the game is over, they go on to other non-gambling activities.
Yes. In a 2008 survey of Alberta students in grades 7 to 12, just over 2%, so about 2 out of every 100 students surveyed showed signs of problem gambling. About 3.5% or almost 4 out of every 100 students showed signs of being at risk for developing problems with gambling. Research shows the younger you are when you start gambling the more likely it is that you will develop a gambling problem.
There are many. Remember though: not every gambler is a problem gambler, and not every problem gambler will show all these types of behaviour. Someone with a gambling problem:
While there’s no way of knowing who will develop a gambling problem, there are warning signs. Some of these signs can come early in the problem, and some may show up later:
For more information and to find an addiction services office near you, please call the
24-hour Help Line.
Current as of: March 2, 2017
Author: Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services
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