Problem Gambling – “The Hidden Addiction”

Picture of right and left hand. Right hand is open-face holding two die in the center of the picture. Left hand is closed fist in the lower right corner of the picture with the words “GAMBLING PROBLEMS” in the center of the picture under the right hand.

Gambling Addiction is a GLOBAL PROBLEM (Video)

Gambling is Defined as: 

Gambling (also known as betting) is the wagering something of value (“the stakes”) on an event with an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning something else of value. Gambling thus requires three elements to be present: consideration (an amount wagered), risk (chance), and a prize.  

Gambling can be a lot of fun for most people. They set a budget, and enjoy the time that passes while they spend it there’s more to gambling than the money. For many, gambling is seen as a form of entertainment where any money they happen to win is a bonus. 


What is Problem Gambling? 

  • Problem gambling–or gambling disorder–includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family, or vocational pursuits. 
  • Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to a significant impairment or distress. 

The definition, dimensionalization, and assessment of gambling participation (uleth.ca) 


Signs and Symptoms of Problem Gambling

If you answer yes to at least four of the following symptoms in a 12-month period you may have a Gambling Problem. 

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement 
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling 
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling 
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble) 
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed) 
  • After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses) 
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling 
  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education, or career opportunity because of gambling 
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling 

DSM-5-Diagnostic-Criteria-Gambling-Disorder.pdf (ncpgambling.org) 


Where to Get Help 

Virginia Problem Gambling Help Line 1 (888) 532-3500 

Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous.org

12 step program for Problem Gambling 
Gam-Anon (www.gam-anon.org

Is a self-help organization for the spouse, family or close friends of problem gambler 

GamTalk (www.gamtalk.org)                                                     
Is a 24/7 moderated online peer support forum.