What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is any type of gambling activity that disrupts other areas of your life, or the lives of the people around you. This includes school or work activities, relationships with family or friends, or your own physical and mental health.

For most people, gambling is just another form of entertainment, like watching a movie or a football game. But for some, gambling becomes more than recreation. It becomes a problem that affects other areas of their lives, from their careers to their families.

People with gambling problems tend to bet more than they can afford to lose, max out credit cards and borrow money to gamble. In most cases they will deny having a problem, continuing to chase losses while isolating themselves from family and friends. Problem gamblers usually need to bet more money, more frequently, to get the same thrill as someone without a problem. Locked in denial, they keep rolling the dice despite suffering serious consequences.

Problem gambling comes in many forms. For example, some people might be able to play the slot machines at a casino with no problem, but have a problem with sports betting. Others are “binge gamblers” who may only bet once or twice a year, but completely lose control when they do gamble.

Do I have a problem with gambling?

This quick self-test from Gamblers Anonymous® will help you determine your risk level for problem gambling:

Take the Gamblers Anonymous risk assessment.

Call the Pennsylvania Gambling Helpline for immediate assistance.


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