Just Ask is here to answer your questions about gambling. Use this resource to gamble responsibly or determine if your habits might be problematic.
For some people, gambling becomes an addiction. The effects they get from gambling are similar to the relief someone with alcoholism gets from alcohol. They can crave gambling the way someone craves alcohol, drugs, or other substances. Compulsive gambling can lead to problems with school, finances, relationships, work, and even legal issues.
For many young adults, gambling is a way to make some extra money – from fantasy sports, playing an occasional game of poker with roommates, or a night out at the casino with friends. However, it is important to be aware that, while it’s entertaining, for some people, gambling can become problematic. The best thing to do is stay informed and understand the risks so you can play it safe.
It all comes down to chance. Playing games such as poker or sports betting with in-depth knowledge could help make choices. But the outcome of any draw is still random. You might think you are the best poker player, but someone else may have better cards. Your football team might have won the last two games, but that doesn’t guarantee they will win a third.
No. The bottom line is that gambling establishments like casinos and online gambling sites are set up to take in more money than they pay out – they are a business. This means that over time, you will lose more money than you win. And, remember, it’s not just casinos. All forms of gambling have the same principle – the vast majority of people lose so that a tiny minority can have big wins. Most individuals with a gambling problem hold the false expectation that they will win big and win all of their losses back. If you lose money, never try to get it back by exceeding your budget. This usually leads to even more significant losses.
Without support or intervention, compulsive – or uncontrollable – gambling can lead to serious interpersonal conflicts. As if that isn’t difficult enough, a gambling addiction can drive ordinarily trusted and honest individuals to lie, cheat, and steal. An unchecked addiction can take the form of loans from friends, secretive finances, or even outright embezzlement from employers. When laws are broken, individuals are typically prosecuted; with fines, incarceration, restitution, and often mandated professional therapy.
While some people can stop gambling on their own, others need to seek professional support. According to the American Psychiatric Association, less than 10 percent of people with gambling disorders seek treatment. If you think you or a friend may have a gambling problem, you could start by talking to a friend or a family member or take advantage of Minnesota’s free professional resources for counseling and treatment; all conversations are anonymous.
Almost everyone who develops a gambling problem thinks it’s just a matter of time until they hit the jackpot or win back everything they have lost. They often gamble to the point that their relationships, finances, and health are negatively affected. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs and understand the risks before engaging in gambling activities.