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.