How To Spot Common Signs Of Problem Gambling

Posted on March 7, 2022

It’s important to learn how to recognize the signs of problem gambling if you’re betting on a regular basis. There’s no time like the present since March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month in the US.

Problem gambling signs can differ

About 1% of adults in the US have a severe gambling problem, according to the National Center For Responsible Gambling.

The signs of a gambling disorder can be hard to recognize since they can appear differently from person to person.

Gambling is a form of entertainment that can be a positive aspect of your life. However, it’s important to keep responsible gambling practices in mind to make sure that it stays that way.

Even those that experience problem gambling can receive treatment and live productive lives.

This is not the complete list of potential problem gambling signs, but it’s a good place to start when it comes to keeping your eyes out for some common problems. Paying attention to your habits can help you catch any potential problems early on.

Compulsive wagering

A common sign of gambling addiction is feeling like you have to bet. Some people don’t quite feel normal until they gamble.

It’s often described as a type of “itch” that gamblers have to “scratch” in order to feel like themselves.

Feeling that way is a red flag to keep an eye out for, but what about noticing it in the people around you?

Gamblers that suffer from compulsive wagering sometimes use specific language to voice their feelings.

“I have to get my bets in today.” Anything similar that describes gambling as a need could be a sign of compulsive wagering.

The same goes for when someone is prioritizing gambling over other important aspects of their life. If gambling is coming first and the rest of life is taking a backseat, then problem wagering might be starting to take hold.

Spending shame

Problem gamblers often feel guilty after they bet. If gambling is making you feel bad about your spending, then that should be triggering alarm bells.

Remember, gambling is supposed to be about fun. It’s a form of entertainment that shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself.

If you get the feeling that you’re spending too much money on gambling, then it’s probably time to take a step back and evaluate things.

When you’re gambling, set a budget for yourself and never wager more than what you’re willing to lose.

Gambling should not be causing you financial difficulties. If you’re borrowing money to gamble, gambling until you run out of money, or becoming hesitant to spend your “gambling money” on other things, then you should consider taking a break.

 Screening day for problem gambling signs

Recognizing problem gambling isn’t always a simple thing.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is developing a gambling problem, then it’s worth taking the extra time to check things out.

March 8 is Gambling Disorder Screening Day. As part of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, the National Council on Problem Gambling has put together a screening tool kit that anyone can use for free.

The kit contains all sorts of extra information about gambling disorders and early warning signs.

Taking part in Gambling Disorder Screening Day is a great place to start if you’re looking for more information.

Even if you’re on the fence about checking out potential red flags, taking a few minutes to investigate further can be a difference-maker.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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