Gambling – Guilty Pleasure or Addiction?

Internet gambling and the influx of casinos in the past twenty years bring more opportunities for gamblers to take a guilty pleasure to a serious problem status for many teens and adults.

Internet gambling is popular among several age groups, however, teenagers have shown a special interest in the sites. “Statistics prove that teen-age Internet gambling is the fastest growing addiction of the day, akin to drug and alcohol abuse in the 1930s,” said David Robertson, former chairman of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, on the Web site www.cnn.com. “It’s pernicious, it’s evil, it’s certainly one that feeds on those who are the weakest members of society — and that’s the young and the poor.”

“Internet gambling has increased from one site to 1,400 in the past six years,” said Kevin O’Neill, deputy director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc., on the council’s Web site. “Easy availability and opportunity to make bets are the key essentials for young people to move into problem and compulsive gambling.”

“Sports betting is a major problem, and it is getting worse,” said Ed Looney, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey Inc., on the council’s Web site, www.800gambler.org.

“Betting pools available in high schools, colleges and offices throughout America will nearly match the amount of money generated on Super Bowl Sunday.”

“Seemingly innocent office pools many times are catalysts for some people to get involved in sports betting,” Looney said. “Many of these pools are illegal.”

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health concluded 4.2 million Americans are addicted to gambling, 60 percent of whom have yearly incomes under $25,000.

Gamblers Anonymous suggests answering the following twenty questions.

1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?

2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?

3. Did gambling affect your reputation?

4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?

5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?

6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?

7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?

8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?

9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?

10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?

11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?

12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?

13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?

14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?

15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?

16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?

17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?

19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?

20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

If you or someone you know answered, ‘Yes’ to seven or more of these questions, problem gambling is the issue. Reference: www.gamblersanonymous.org

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, author, international speaker and inspirational leader specializes in: Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Physical/Sexual Abuse Prevention and Recovery. Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life’s challenges as an opportunity for Personal/Professional Growth and Spiritual Awakening. www.drdorothy.net

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