Responsible gambling is the most important skill to learn and practice when playing Blackjack or any other casino games. Gambling can be addictive and an addiction to gambling can lead to losing significant amounts of money and many other problems in life.
The good news is that there are help centers located all over the country in order to help people with gambling problems. In order to learn more about gambling addictions and how to avoid them, I called the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling and talked to Brian, a call center employee, to receive expert information.
How Big of an Issue is Gambling Addiction in the US?
According to Brian,
National statistics estimate that right now
between 6 and 9 million people meet the criteria for pathological gambling
and there are probably several million more that are at risk.
Due to the large amount of the population that has developed or would potentially develop a gambling addiction in the United States alone, it is important to adress how you can prevent addictions, how you can recognize that you have an addiction, and then how you can treat an addiction if you have one.
What Strategies Can You Use to Prevent a Gambling Addiction?
Some sound strategies Brian suggested to stick to include: deciding on
a certain amount of time or money to use when gambling and not exceeding them.
It is also important to make sure you do not put off other responsibilites, such as work or
family duties, in order to go gambling. However, for some people it may be
too difficult to stick to these rules because,
there are people that do
have a propensity for an addiction.
You should also never gamble with money that you need in order to live and pay bills. Gambling should be done with discretionary income and should be thought of as a way to have fun, not a way to make money.
In many casinos, free drinks will be given to you while you gamble. Although it is ok to have a few drinks while you play, gambling while intoxicated may impair your judgement and cause you to use more money, gamble longer, or take bigger risks than you normally would. Do not stay at the table just because you want free drinks. There is a reason they are free: people are paying for them at the tables!
What are Some Common Symptoms of an Addiction?
Brian discussed various symptoms ranging from light to severe, these include:
- Getting preoccupied with gambling
- Getting agitated when you are not gambling
- Building up a tolerance until you need to gamble more and more to get the same enjoyment
- Ruining relationships
- Getting involved in illegal activities to obtain money including: writing bad checks and embezzling from work
It is important to recognize these symptoms if you or a loved one is experiencing them. These symptoms also go to show the very negative effects that gambling can have on your life if you do not play responsibly.
What's the First Thing Somebody Should Do if They Realize They Have an Addiction?
Brian was straightforward in answering this question, stating that the first step
realizing they have a problem and then they have to be willing
to get help.
He also wanted to stress the fact that
there is help available for the
people that need it... wherever they are around the country.
As was discussed at the top of this page, some people are just more prone to becoming addicted. If you are one of these people and are experiencing symptoms of addiction, do not be ashamed. There are millions of people dealing with the same thing and there is hope for you. It is important to realize your addiction as quickly as possible before it leads to serious life issues and relationship problems. It is important to enjoy Blackjack and other casino games for what they are without letting them to take control over you or your life.