ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Problem Gambling and Telltale Signs

Updated on February 22, 2010

When Games People Play become a Problem

What is Gambling?

Whenever you take the chance of losing money or belongings, and winning or losing is decided mostly by chance, you are gambling.

There are many different ways to gamble; Bingo, casino games, Keno, slot machines, lottery tickets, betting on horse racing. Nevada, scratch or pull-tab tickets, betting on card games, maj-jong or dominoes, internet gambling, stock market speculation.

When is gambling a problem?

Gambling becomes a problem when it:

· Hurts you financially

· Gets in the way of work, school or other activities

· Creates mental or physical health problems

· Damages your reputation

· Causes problems with your friends and family members

· It affects a person’s whole life

Why Do Some People Develop Gambling Problems?

In Ontario and other Canadian Cities and Provinces, gambling rakes in huge government revenues. Gambling, therefore, is encouraged as entertainment and peddled as a chance to win big and a chance to make "all dreams come true." It is widely advertised. It is popular with community organizations which use it for fundraising purposes. Opportunities to gamble is everywhere and popular due to government sponsored ads on TV, Print and Radio and public transportation systems, i.e. bus, trains and subway stations. However, most people don’t know the risks involved in gambling or the signs of impending gambling problems. Many people develop gambling problems without realizing what is happening.

In many cases, people gamble without having problems. They consider gambling as entertainment or a way to spend time with friends. They hope to win, but don’t expect to win. The problem starts this way:

· Hoping for a big win

· Trying to win back lost money

· Escaping from life’s problems, loneliness and loss of loved ones

· The excitement of taking risks

· Impulsivity (acting without thinking)

· Relieving physical and emotional pain

· Coping with depression and anxiety

SLOT MACHINES: The ringing sounds of a slot machine hitting the jackpot, frequent small wins, the chance of bigger wins and what seems to be near-misses may hook players to continue playing and spend more money than intended.

Red Flag Signs that Gambling Is a Problem

People with gambling problems often cover-up or lie about it when asked where they have been. Or, tell stories where money has gone. This makes problem gambling harder to identify. But there are many ways to spot the telltale signs of problem gambling.

Watch out for these money clues.

· Bills start to pile up, payments are missed and nasty creditors starts calling

· Valuables disappear and reappear

· The person is always short of money

· Money is missing from the house or bank accounts

· The affected family member is bad-tempered, secretive about money. He or she hides bank and credit card statements.

· The person borrows money through bank loans, family and friends or through credit cards which are ultimately maxed out.

· Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSPS) and insurance plans are cashed in, or payments are not made.

· The person juggles money to gamble or pay debts.

The emotional clues.

Problem gambling can also manifest itself when your family member shows this emotional behaviour or pattern: Withdrawal from family and friends, mood swings or sudden outburst of anger, is suicidal or depressed. Persons who are proned to gambling problems often complain of boredom or restlessness, seem anxious or far away and have difficulty paying attention. When winnings occur, the gambler feels good about himself or herself.

Time Clues Worth Watching. When your family member is (A.) Often late for school or work (B.)Or gone for long unexplained periods.

Sudden Behavioural Changes:

· Cheats or steals money to gamble or pay debts

· Changes patterns of sleep, eating or sex

· Stops doing things he or she used to enjoy

· Uses alcohol or drugs more often

· Makes excuses, doesn’t do as he or she says

· Doesn’t take care of himself or herself, or ignores work, school or family tasks

· Misses family events

· Lies about gambling

· Has more health and stress problems (e.g. headaches, stomach and bowel problems)

· Has money conflicts with other people

· Doesn’t want to spend money on anything except gambling

· Thinks or talks about gambling all the time

If you think, you or one of your family members is having gambling related problems there is help available.

Provincial and National Services

1. Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline (OPGH) 1-888-230-3505,

A free, confidential and anonymous service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. OPGH provides information in over 140 languages. It also gives referrals to:

· Treatment and counselling services for problem gambling

· Credit card and debt counselling services . Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services, 1-888-746-3328,

· Telephone counselling services if available in your area or community

· Self-help organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon.

Sources: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)-Toronto and Centennial College Counselling Course



Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)