When someone in the family is addicted to gambling, we almost always reprimand them and remind them of the more important things to do than going to the casino and betting and losing most of the time. We ask them why they would rather stick their faces on the slot machines rather than be with us, take us to the movies or just be cozy at home and have great conversations.
However, we are mindless of how the gambler really feels about his addiction. Some of them may just love the act of gambling itself, but others have become victims of the addiction, wanting to quit but cannot. These individuals feel guilty for not spending time with family, sorry for being addicted, and ask themselves, “Why do I gamble? Why can’t I just stop?”
“Even those who have never been to a casino and likely never will can still become addicted gamblers because of the proliferation of gambling websites.” –Dr. David Hodgson
Let us examine some reasons why problem gamblers can’t control their addictions and why they continue to gamble despite the problems that gambling causes him and his family.
Why Do People Gamble?
- People gamble because they want to win big money and get rich fast. Problem gamblers walk into the casino crossing their fingers and hoping to get that jackpot, the big win. They have been losing a lot for the past few days and they’re back with a vengeance, so eager to bet. If they lose, they might go home feeling angry and moody. If they win, they’d think they could go home now, spend the money with family. But, no, the betting never ends. Winning only feeds their desire to gamble, and so the cycle goes on.
“They gamble to reach the high. They gamble to escape emotional pain for hours, for days, until the money runs out. They quickly relish the winnings, investing nearly all of it back over the next days and weeks. They slowly destroy their lives. They get caught in the cycle.” –Damon Dye, EdD, LMHC, NCGC II, BACC
People gamble because they have financial problems. If you are one of those individuals who think about working two jobs to pay their bills and debts, the problem gambler only has to turn to the cards or the slots, thinking that their financial problems would be solved with a few throws of the dice. Unfortunately, they know all too well that gambling doesn’t solve their problems. Almost always, their debts are magnified and their bills get unpaid because the more they gamble, the more they lose.
- “A person may use gambling as an unhealthy way to cope.” Jeremy Frank, PhD, CAC said. People gamble to escape the undesirable situations that they are in. They may have terminal cancer or other debilitating illnesses that are difficult to accept. They may have had a divorce and are feeling lonely. The sound of the slots going ‘ring ring’ gives them a feeling of excitement that helps them forget what they are going through.
- People gamble for social interaction. Young teens and even kids are sometimes exposed to gambling at home, when they are taught simple card games that the family can enjoy as past time. This is why gambling has become widely accepted in society as part of one’s culture. Bingo is one game that most families and friends enjoy playing during get-togethers. These games, which used to be just for fun, have become part of the games worldwide that people bet big money on.
A testimony from a problem gambler who lost a lot of money within just 59 minutes:
“I was in a fog. It was me and the machine. I threw it all away,” he said, fighting back tears. “All that money was supposed to pay back debts. It was for Christmas presents – for my son, my wife. I don’t need to be told gambling ruins lives. It’s ruined mine several times.”
Gambling addiction is a serious problem that needs attention. It affects the problem gambler’s mental and emotional well-being, and may lead to depression and ultimately suicide. If you know someone who has a gambling addiction problem, encourage him to get the help he needs – before he loses his family, his friends, and himself.