Most people understand the basic premise of gambling. For example, someone goes to a casino to enjoy the thrill of betting and winning money, and then they go home. Right? For some it is that simple. However, for many others it becomes more than just a roll of the dice every now and then, or the occasional poker game here and there. What if the poker games become habitual, or that one blackjack game turns into two, three, or four hours? What if the person starts going two, three, four times a week? What constitutes gambling addiction?
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) provides some important guidance in this area by explaining problem gambling – or gambling addiction in general – as an inclusive set of behavioral patterns that compromise or otherwise damage personal, family, and professional or vocational endeavors. See below for some of the signs and symptoms.
Additionally, there is a clinical distinction that should be noted. Individuals whose problem gambling is more severe would be clinically classified as having a pathological gambling addiction.
Suffice it to say that the house almost invariably wins and the gambling addict does not understand this or blatantly disregards the statistical truth — and by the time they do understand, if ever, the damage is done. There seems to be a critical failure to understand how their gambling addiction correlates to personal problems, damage to relationships, and failures at work or elsewhere. Those who are addicted don’t seem to understand that they have lost their independence.