Many people use gambling to self-soothe uncomfortable emotions or as a way to socialize. However, the emotional and financial consequences of problem gambling are the same whether a person does it once in a while or has a binge. Consequently, therapy is necessary if a person can’t control their gambling and it begins to affect every area of their life. The psychological effects of gambling can range from migraines, distress and intestinal disorders to attempts at suicide.
Getting rid of the temptation to gamble requires a conscious decision. You must resist the urge to place bets and limit the amount of money you spend. Getting rid of credit cards and allowing someone else to manage them can help. Also, you should close your accounts at online gambling sites. Having only a small amount of cash on hand can help. Keeping money on hand will also help you stay away from temptation. While this is easier said than done, it is an important habit to break.
A support system is essential to combating the problem. In addition to friends and family, you can find new friends who don’t share your interests or are willing to work with you. Education classes, volunteering for a cause, and joining peer support groups are also excellent ways to address this problem. If the problem is affecting your personal life, you can consider joining a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. These groups are similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, but specifically target people with gambling problems. A sponsor is a former gambler who can provide you with guidance and support.
Legal gambling activities are a huge industry worldwide. In the U.S. alone, the legal gambling industry accounted for $335 billion in 2009.
Despite widespread legal restrictions on gambling, it continues to attract a large number of people. According to estimates, gambling costs the American economy $10 trillion annually. However, it is likely that the illegal gambling industry is even higher. The largest types of gambling are lotteries and sports betting. Currently, state-licensed lotteries are the most common form of gambling in the United States. However, organized football pools are also prevalent in many European countries, South America, Australia, and a few African and Asian countries.
Gambling is an activity that many young people engage in with their friends. However, even young people can develop a gambling problem. One study of Alberta college students found that two out of every 100 had a gambling problem. Additionally, four out of every 100 showed signs of risky gambling behavior. The good news is that people can usually win back any lost money. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to gambling. If you do get caught up with a gambling addiction, it will be much easier for you to overcome the problem and win.
Although all states criminalize gambling in some form, their penalties differ. Depending on the severity of the gambling offense, you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail. However, the maximum jail term varies widely from state to state, but misdemeanor convictions usually involve fines of several hundred dollars to more than $20,000 – either separate or in addition to jail. You may also be required to pay fines separate from your criminal record, which is another disadvantage.