Preventing Problem Gambling

Replacing Myths and Superstitions

The more you gamble, the more you lose. Here’s why.

Casinos and other gambling games have built-in mathematical advantages to ensure that they will make money. Casino games and devices are based on random events or random number generators. Streaks and patterns are entirely random, and the next event is unpredictable and independent of previous events. Yet over the course of play, even these random outcomes are tipped to the casino’s favor.

Some gamblers begin to have an illusion that their lucky shirt or pushing a button a certain way gives them control, but the games are operated by random devices or cards.

The belief in “winning streaks,” “losing streaks” and “near-misses” is common but in reality, these patterns don’t exist. The next spin, hand, or drawing is random and unconnected to the last – and the casino always has the advantage.

In fact, there is a name for this misconception: the gambler’s fallacy. The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that if something has not happened for a long time, it is bound to happen. Just because a flipped coin lands on heads nine times in a row, it doesn’t mean that it is more likely to land on tails– the chance is still 50/50.

Avoiding the Temptation

How to avoid the temptation to gamble

For some, a support group can be a tremendous help. You can find a Gamblers Anonymous support group online.

Set goals and set yourself up for success. Create short- and long-term goals to help you focus on recovery. Avoid high-risk situations, such as meeting at gambling venues or carrying around large amounts of money.

Face your feelings and talk about them. Speak openly with someone you trust to reduce stress and acknowledge your feelings without blame or judgment.

Focus on the positives and find healthy alternatives. Acknowledge your achievements and find healthy new hobbies or activities to reduce the temptation to gamble.

Realize lapses may happen. Many people experience lapses, but that doesn’t mean you have failed in recovery. Learn from your lapses to see how you can identify triggers and avoid future lapses in recovery.




There is so much information about problem gambling. Sometimes, it can be confusing to cut through all the articles, research, social media posts and any other information. Sometimes, it’s important just to go back to basics.

What is gambling?

Gambling is to risk something of value on a game of chance in hopes of a desired result. Many times, people risk money, but money is not always the item at risk.  People can bet using digital items, possessions they own, or anything else that has worth.

The other important thing to remember is that there must be chance involved.  There must be a chance that the outcome can go one way or another.  Chance is what causes the excitement in a person’s brain who is gambling.  The excitement of chance is what people can get addicted to.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling occurs any time gambling causes problems in someone’s life. These problems can be focusing on the person who chooses to gamble, or loved ones, friends and colleagues who are negatively affected by someone’s gambling.

Problems from Gambling

When people think of problem gambling, the first thing people think of is money. While lack of money is an important factor, the consequences reach much further.  When someone is struggling with a gambling problem, they’re so focused on gambling they struggle to pay attention to loved ones, friends and colleagues around them. They may lose touch with these people, and really struggle to get things accomplished at work or at home. 

The heaviest toll, though, can weight on a person’s mental health.  Between distance and problems between loved ones, struggles at work, and the heavy weight of an increasing debt, mental health problems start to show.  Of people who struggle with problem gambling:

There are a number of warning signs to look for to help identity a gambling problem.

Problem Gambling Warning Signs

There are many warning signs of a gambling problem. It’s important to know these warning signs to be able to identify a problem with a loved one.  Many times, a gambling problem goes undetected because there aren’t any outward, visible signs of a problem like there are with substance addictions.  Some warning signs include:

Learn more about problem gambling warning signs to find many more ways to identify whether or not someone may be struggling with a gambling

Help for Problem Gambling

There are many different types of help for problem gambling. From informational materials and videos to self-help groups and clinical treatment, there is help for everyone in need.

The easiest way to identify local resources and support is by contacting Council on Compulsive Gambling. Any person calling for assistance will be connected to a trained individual.  That individual will guide callers to the support or services that they’re looking for that are closest to where they live.

We hope this review of the basics about problem gambling was helpful and offers the background of information for anyone who thinks gambling is causing problems in their life.