For most people gambling is a great form of entertainment and a fun way to spend an evening out with friends, or even just a way to let off some steam. But for others, gambling becomes more than a pastime and begins to put a lot of strain on everything from their finances to the relationships in their lives, and even their careers.
But how does a person get to that stage? What is the tipping point when fun becomes a compulsion and entertainment becomes a damaging activity?
The very first thing to remember about gambling is that it’s entertainment. Games of chance are exactly that, chance. Most of us know that when we try our luck, the odds are that we may lose the money we are playing, but the adrenalin of the game and the chance of a big payout makes it fun. For the problem gambler, the game becomes a way to make money, or to make up losses, and eventually becomes a compulsion that is difficult to control.
While theories on the reasons for gambling addiction vary in different psychological disciplines, all agree that it is classified as a compulsive disorder, similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – where a person has little or no control over the need to complete a specific action despite a logical reason not to. In this way, a problem gambler, or addict, finds themselves spending money or playing games when they can no longer afford to, despite the knowledge that what they’re doing is unlikely to resolve the problem.
People who suffer from this compulsion can put themselves under very real strain, and can end up with terrible debt, damaged relationships with loved ones, and can sometimes even find themselves damaging their career in favour of fulfilling the compulsion to gamble further. It’s a tough position to be in, and even harder to get out of. Gambling addicts almost always require professional help to get their lives back on track, and may even continue to have difficulty dealing with money for years to come.
This is certainly one of the circumstances where prevention is better than cure. When deciding to gamble or to enjoy casino games, keep a watchful eye on yourself. Create a budget and keep track of your spending, and be honest with yourself if things get tough. Most importantly, make sure it’s still fun!
Cabaret Club strongly supports responsible gambling and offers self-inclusion options and other measures to help those who require assistance with an addiction.