97% of people don’t have a problem with gambling but for 3% of the population gambling can be a serious addiction. The results for that person can be devastating and will affect not only them but their family and friends. Some of the consequences of gambling addiction may be the loss of a relationship, loss of a job, starting down a path of crime (stealing to support the addiction) to name a few. Sometimes the spouse/family isn’t aware that there is a problem until the person has hit rock bottom and lost their entire savings, pension plan, retirement fund, etc. Most people who have an addiction truly believe that they can replace it before anyone knows that it’s gone.
Here are some rules to follow when gambling:
• Don’t think of it as a way to make money but more of a form of entertainment. Never spend more money on it than you would for entertainment.
• Remember the odds are for the house, so expect to lose and for that reason never spend more money than you can afford to lose and always set a limit.
• Set a limit on time you will spend on this form of entertainment and keep a balance of time doing other things with family, friends and other activities. In other words, don’t get overly occupied with gambling.
• Never gamble alone or when you are feeling down or depressed.
• Never think that you are going to get ahead or win back money you have lost.
If you find yourself or anyone you know who is not following these guidelines or is devoting too much time or money to this activity it may be a problem. There is help for gambling addiction. Contact the PA Problem Gambling at 1-877-565-2112 or find a local counselor.
Some other resources for gambling information:
• Gamblers Anonymous
• Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania (CCGP)
• National Council on Problem Gambling
• Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling – Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
Presently there is only one meeting for Gamblers Anonymous in our area. It is held at the Brownson House on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. The Brownson House is located at 1415 Jefferson Ave. Washington, PA 15301.
To check other areas please go to http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/
The prevention department educates youth about problem gambling with two evidence-based programs: Stacked Deck and Wanna Bet. You can find descriptions on these programs on the middle school and high school pages. You might think that our youth don't need to worry about gambling, but the fact is that they start to gamble at an early age. They may not be old enough to bet legally but they start gambling with things like sporting events, lottery tickets, video and card games.