FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Gambling is gambling behavior, which causes disruption
in any major area of life: psychological, physical,
social or vocational. The term "Problem Gambling" includes,
but is not limited to, the condition known as "Pathological," or "Compulsive" gambling,
a progressive addiction characterized by increasing
preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more
money more frequently, restlessness or irritability
when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, and
loss of control manifested by continuation of the
gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious,
is estimated that approximately .6 percent and
1.5 percent of the adult population have the psychiatric
condition known as Pathological Gambling Disorder.
Although the number of individuals is not high,
the truly serious nature of problem gambling merits
programs of public education, prevention, intervention
is estimated that more than 80 percent of American
adults have gambled in their lifetime. At least
95 percent of those people, who purchase lottery
tickets, visit riverboat casinos or bingo parlors
understand the costs and risks of participating
in these games of chance. Up to 5 percent of these
individuals experience personal, financial and
social difficulties due to a gambling problem.
National Research Council estimates that as many
as 1.1 million adolescents between the ages of
12 and 18 are pathological gamblers, which is a
much higher percentage than adults. In a study
conducted by the National Opinion Research Center,
adolescent problem and pathological gambling was
found to be the same rate as adults, but the at-risk
rate was double the adult rate.
researchers and mental health professionals believe
that different types of gambling cannot be said
to "cause" problem gambling. Dr. Durand Jacobs,
for example, has written: "it appears that the
addict's pursuit and over indulgence in alcohol,
other drugs, food, gambling, sex, overwork, or
whatever, is NOT the addicts "problem." On
the contrary, a person's addictive pattern of behavior
represents that person's best SOLUTION to the stresses
generated by their long-standing underlying problems." Dr.
Julian Taber has written: "Blaming alcohol or gambling
for an addiction has important negative consequences.
... it allows the patient to focus on treatment
and discharge plans that deal with everything except
That being said, problem gamblers are attracted to different
forms of gambling for different reasons. Some are
attracted to the sensory stimulation of video games
of chance, while others to the perception of skill
in cards or sports betting. Still others are drawn
to the seemingly easy money of high-risk investments.
Many, if not most, pathological gamblers indulge
in more than one form of gambling. However, studies
of pathological gamblers have found that the most
frequently cited games of preference are slot machines,
card games, and sports betting. A Minnesota study
of 944 gamblers in treatment found that 37 percent
listed slot machines as their preferred game and
37 percent listed cards. Lottery games, dice games
and games of skill were each cited by less than
1 percent of those in the study. (Stinchfield and
Studies have shown that treatment is effective
in a great many cases. A wide range of programs
exists, ranging from Gamblers Anonymous to inpatient
treatment centers. There is no one program that
is right for all people. If a treatment program
hasn't worked for a particular individual, a different
program may well succeed. To find out information
about treatment programs available in Missouri,
call the toll-free help line 1-888-BETSOFF (1-888-238-7633) or view our providers list.
gamblers can be male, female, young, middle-aged,
old, wealthy, poor, white, or people of color.
Recently, the National Opinion Research Center
of the University of Chicago study completed the
first-ever national (U.S.) survey on problem gambling
prevalence. The study found that young adults,
ethnic minorities, and people with little education
were slightly more likely to have serious gambling
problems, but the differences were not very large.
In several studies approximately 50 percent of
problem gamblers were found to also have drug or
alcohol problems, while studies of people in treatment
for substance abuse have found between 10 and 30
percent also having a gambling problem. People
may have both addictions simultaneously or can
switch from one addiction to another.
appears that in many cases the answer is yes. Various
studies have found high rates of alcoholism, depression,
anti-social personality disorder, mood disorders
and other conditions in pathological gamblers,
leading some researchers to suspect that problem
gambling is often a symptom of an underlying condition.
is another area in which research is still in its
preliminary stages. Different researchers have
suggested a number of character traits. Dr. Richard
Rosenthal, for example, has cited three components
he believes necessary: an intolerable feeling state,
such as helplessness, depression, or guilt, a highly
developed capacity for self-deception and exposure
to gambling under circumstances in which it is
valued. Other researchers have suggested that physical
or hereditary predispositions may play a role;
these links have not been proven or disproven.
with permission from the National Association
of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL).
Help Is Available
If you feel you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call
(1-888-238-7633). email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Your toll-free call to 1-888-BETSOFF can put you in touch
with people who understand your situation and can refer
in your area.
You can also reach the Help Line counselors via email; emails will be answered within 15 hours.
Compulsive gambling is a behavior disorder in which an individual has an uncontrollable
preoccupation and urge to gamble. This results in excessive gambling, the outcome of
which is loss of time and money.
The gambling reaches the point at which it compromises, disrupts or destroys the
gambler's personal life, family relationships or vocational pursuits. The key
signs are emotional dependence on gambling, loss of control and interference with