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Problem Gambling Signs

The following signs of a problem gambler come from the South Oaks Gambling Screen, the American Psychiatric Association, the US National Council on Problem Gambling, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada.If you suspect that you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, look for the following signs:

  • Gambling longer and/or with more money than one intends to.
  • Other people suggest that this person may have a gambling problem.
  • Feeling guilty or remorseful about gambling, especially after gambling.
  • Hiding betting slips, lottery tickets, gambling money or other signs of gambling.
  • Borrowing money without repaying it.
  • Borrowing money specifically to finance gambling.
  • Having a preoccupation with gambling that may involve reliving past experiences, planning a future gambling excursion or thinking of more ways to gamble.
  • Gambling with more and more money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
  • Having unsuccessful attempts at trying to control, cut down or stop gambling.
  • Becoming irritable or restless when trying to cut down on or stop gambling or after having not gambled for a period of time.
  • Using gambling to escape problems or feelings like loneliness, helplessness, guilt, anxiety, stress, boredom or depression.
  • Lying to cover up how involved with gambling one is.
  • Getting involved with illegal acts that may include theft, fraud, forgery or embezzlement in order to get money for gambling.
  • Putting at risk or losing a job or relationship or suffering in school because of gambling.
  • Gambling until one has no money left.
  • Having thoughts of gambling that cause loss of sleep.
  • Using income or savings to gamble while bills remain unpaid.
  • Feeling depressed or suicidal because of gambling losses.
  • Gambling in an attempt to get money to meet financial obligations.
  • Trying to win back losses (chasing).
  • Gambling despite having financial problems.
  • Believing in a big win that will solve all of your problems.
  • Having an early big win or believing that you are on a “winning streak” and allowing that to fuel your desire to gamble.

If you recognize some of the above signs in yourself or someone you know, it is likely that you or this person has a gambling problem or is at risk of developing one. Please refer to our Gambling Addiction Recovery section for more information on how you can get help.




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