Many people regularly gamble – whether it’s betting on sports, playing online casino games or even just buying lottery tickets. But when does this gambling habit become an addiction? For many people, it can happen very quickly. It’s important that you are able to identify an addiction so that you can stop and get help if necessary. Below are just some of the signs that you may be addicted to gambling.
You gamble more than you can afford to lose
You should only ever gamble what you can reasonably afford to lose. If you’re gambling money that needs to be spent on food or bills, this is a sign that you may want to start controlling how much you bet. Those that are able to maintain gambling as a hobby are able to keep to a tight budget. Consider doing this if you feel you’re risking too much.
You borrow/steal money to gamble with
For those that continue to gamble more than they can afford to lose, this is often the next stage. Addicts will try to win back the money they’ve lost through gambling by borrowing or stealing money to bet with. Borrowing money to gamble with is very dangerous – if you lose the money, you’ll still have to pay back the debt, and you’ll have nothing to show for it. Once you start accumulating gambling debt, it’s worth stopping gambling completely and taking measures to pay off your debt. Obviously, stealing money to gamble with is wrong on multiple levels. This is a sure sign that you need to stop.
Your gambling habit is putting a strain on your relationships
Are your partner, parents or friends concerned about how much you gamble? Do you get into arguments for spending too much time or money on online casinos or at betting shops? Are you neglecting family or work responsibilities because you’re too focused on gambling? Once relationships around you start taking a strain, it’s a good sign that you need to step away from gambling. A break could allow you to pour time into rebuilding these relationships.
You conceal your gambling habit from others
Some people know that their family or friends wouldn’t approve of their gambling habits and so conceal their gambling from everyone around them. This is usually a sign that your gambling habits have become unhealthy – you’ll have no-one to tell you to stop, making it easier to bet too much. Consider taking measures to stop gambling or to cut back on gambling if you feel the need to hide your behaviour.
You keep telling yourself one more bet, but keep on going
Not being able to stop is the definition of an addiction. Set yourself limits when it comes to bets, and make sure that you have the willpower to stick to these limits. Some online casinos and betting platforms have features that can physically stop you from betting any more money once you’ve betted a certain amount. Take advantage of these features, or take measures to quit completely (such as looking into bank account gambling control features).