How to Deal With a Gambling Addiction

Gambling is betting something of value on an event that involves randomness and chance, such as cards, fruit machines, poker, horse races, football accumulators, lottery games and online casino gambling. The goal is to win money, and strategies are discounted. It’s an activity that can be fun and harmless for some people, but it can also lead to addiction and serious financial disaster.

Problem gamblers come from all walks of life and all backgrounds. They can be rich or poor, young or old, male or female, and it’s not just about money — they may gamble to escape from their problems, the fear of losing their jobs, or even suicidal thoughts.

It’s important to recognize the signs of a gambling addiction, whether it’s your own or someone close to you. Symptoms include excessive spending on gambling, hiding or lying about money, making excuses to spend more time at the casino, and even borrowing or stealing money to gamble. It’s also important to have a strong support system, as problem gambling can cause family problems, strain relationships and interfere with work or school.

To help with your gambling addiction, start by setting a budget for the amount of money you’re allowed to gamble with each day. Try to keep your money separate, for example by putting the money you’ve allotted to gamble into different envelopes each day – this will make it less likely that you’ll be tempted to use more than what you’ve allocated! It’s also a good idea to get support from a peer group, such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step recovery model used by Alcoholics Anonymous.