What is Gambling?
Gambling is risking money or anything of value on something that has an outcome of chance. There are many different forms of gambling (e.g., lottery tickets, online gaming, bingo, sports betting, and casino slot machines). Here in Washington County, we have the highest per capita spending on lottery tickets in the state!
While gambling can be fun and entertaining, it can become a problem for some people – about 2-3% of the population. Like other addictions, gambling can take control of a person’s life.
When Does Gambling Become a Problem?
It is identified as a problem when the gambling behavior causes disruptions to major areas of a person’s life – family, finances, work, social life, etc. A problem gambler is typically preoccupied with gambling and obtaining money to gamble, and they continue to gamble despite any negative consequences it brings to other aspects of their life.
What are the Signs That You Might Have a Problem with Gambling?
• Spending more time or money on gambling than you can afford.
• Lying to loved ones about the amount of time or money spent gambling.
• A drop off in other activities or interests that used to be important.
• Finding it difficult to cut down on or stop gambling, or feeling irritable when trying to do so.
• Borrowing money to finance gambling or using funds earmarked for other purposes, like mortgage or car payments.
• Gambling to escape personal problems.
• Trying to win back losses.
Problem Gambling Resources
There are many resources available for problem gamblers and their loved ones:
Problem gamblers can also voluntarily ban themselves from entering the two casinos in Maine for one year, three years, five years, or a lifetime. The self-exclusion paperwork can be completed at Healthy Acadia’s Machias office, located at 121 Court Street, Suite A(bring a government-issued photo ID with you). Call 207 255-3741 for additional information.
For more information on self-exclusion, visit http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/samhs/osa/help/gambling/selfexclusion/.
Responsible Gambling Tips
If you’re concerned that gambling is becoming more than a game for you, try using these guidelines to moderate your play:
• Set a dollar or time limit, and stick to it. Once you lose that money or your time is up, walk away.
• Don’t chase losses. If you lose money, chances are you’ll lose even more trying to recoup your losses.
• Think of the money you lose as the cost of your entertainment, and consider any money you may win as a bonus.
• Don’t borrow money to gamble.
• Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain. There are resources available to help you cope in other ways (see above).