Who Are Problem Gamblers?
Problem gamblers come from many backgrounds.
They can be rich or poor, young or old. Problem gambling can affect
people of every race, every religion and every education and income
level. It happens in small towns or big cities.
To them, gambling has become an addiction
- like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Problem gamblers find
it extremely difficult to stop gambling. They believe they can
"beat the odds" - even when their entire world begins
to fall apart.
Addiction in the United States costs society approximately
$5 billion per year and an additional billion in lifetime
costs for productivity reductions, social services,
and creditor losses. However, these calculations are
inadequate to capture the intra-familial costs of divorce
and family disruption associated with problem and pathological
When they can't stop, they:
- lose their money - all of it:
- lose their jobs - more than once;
- lose their families - it happens;
- lose their lives - it's true.
The effects of gambling addiction
are as devastating as alcohol or drug addictions. Unless treated,
the compulsive gambler's betting activity will reach the point
where it compromises, disrupts, and destroys his or her personal
life, family relationships, professional, or vocational pursuits
and financial security. Neglect or abuse of children, spouse or
partner, divorce, bankruptcy, poverty, arrest and/or imprisonment,
mental breakdown of suicide are all likely outcomes of gambling
Fortunately, problem gambling is
a treatable disorder. Intervention can prevent the inevitable
downward spiral and return the individual and their families to
healthy, happy, and productive lives.