Gambling refers to the play of any game where there is money, or something of value at stake. There are many different forms of gambling including horse races, lotteries, casinos, scratch cards, stock market betting, and even more recently internet gambling. Although these games are meant for recreational use, the thrill of gambling causes some people to become so involved in it that they become dependent on gambling. The effects of gambling can cause damage psychologically, be very harmful to one’s social life and can also cause many physical damages. Gambling addiction and pathological gambling is not always seen as dangerous as other addictions like substance abuse but it can in fact be a very damaging addiction to many aspects of life and should be considered a major health problem.
Not everyone who gambles has a gambling addiction or even has the capability of being addicted to gambling. The majority of people who gamble do not have an addiction and simply do it for recreational purposes. But there is a small percentage of people who gamble who are considered problem gamblers or pathological gamblers. Pathological gamblers is described as, “Pathological gambling is characterized by chronic and irresistible impulses to gamble, with consequent gambling compromises and disruptions to family, personal and vocational pursuits.” (Coman, Burrows & Evans, 1997) This addiction causes the gambler to gamble very frequently, often times they will begin to make bigger and bigger bets and receiving feelings of anxiety or depression when they are not gambling. Pathological gambling can also include gambling to recover losses from previous gambling episodes, lying to family members to try and hide their habits, committing criminal acts to obtain money for gambling and relying on others to provide money to relieve them from their financial situation. This is a very serious addiction and should be considered a major health problem because it can negatively affect many serious aspects of an individual’s life.
There are many different influences and gateways that can lead to gambling and even a gambling addiction. Although things like scratch cards may not seem like much of a threat to becoming an addiction, they can intrigue the thought of winning money purely by chance which is a dangerous mindset to have. Another factor that can lead to a gambling addiction is the link between the proximity from the casino and gambling participation. Living close to a casino causes much more accessibility and can add to the possibility of gaining an addiction, “additional gambling opportunities due to the presence of a casino increase the prevalence of gambling-related problems for people who live close to a casino, as compared with people who live far from one.”(Sevigny, Ladouceur, Jacques & Cantinotti, 2008)People who live closer to the casino are much more likely to just “drop by” and play a few hands rather than people who live farther and have to make an evening of it. Accessibility can have a large impact on gaining an addiction to gambling. Also, the recent popularity of poker has a huge impact on the view of gambling for younger people. Poker has become very popular in our society today and is televised quite frequently showing these players not only making a living from this game of chance, but becoming millionaires. Some of these players are seen as celebrities who can cause some younger audiences to look up to them and strive to be like them. These aspects do not directly lead to a gambling problem but they can definitely help lead to one. Technology has become a large contributory factor to problem gambling. As stated earlier, accessibility can have a large impact on gaining an addiction to gambling and the technology of internet has brought accessibility of gambling to a whole new level. Gambling over the internet should be a major concern because the increase in gambling opportunities gives the potential for an increase in problem...
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