March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. It can be difficult to determine if someone is struggling from an addiction to gambling. There’s rarely obvious signs you can see by just looking at someone. However, the impact is huge both on a financial level and a societal level. Social costs alone are $9 billion per year. The average losses for a problem gambler is over $163,000, while more than half of problem gamblers started before the age of 26. (All stats and information provided by Problem Gambling Awareness Month.)
It’s on all of us to know the signs of what a problem gambler may look like. If someone is gambling with more money than they usually do, seem irritable or annoyed when gambling, or are ever lying about their gambling habits, red flags should come up. There are other signs as well, such as gambling with money that you can’t afford to lose.
The National Council on Problem Gambling offers 24 hour confidential national helpline. It’s always important to remember that their are tools and resources to help you if you need it. There’s no shame in recognizing this, either. The number to call or text is 1-800-522-4700. You can also chat live at ncpgambling.org/chat. For more information, please go to Home – National Council on Problem GamblingNational Council on Problem Gambling | NCPG (ncpgambling.org).
It’s on all of us to create a space for people to have fun responsibly, but more importantly, to create a space where no one feels judged or intimidated when they may need help. This is a never ending battle, but together, we can ensure everyone is having fun responsibly and those that need help with always have access to the resources they need.