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It’s not a problem if I’m winning…

2nd September 2016

Catherine looks at when gambling could be described problematic for individuals and their loved ones.

It’s something I’ve heard a lot since I started working at GamCare: “It’s not a problem if I’m winning!”

Well, the short answer is, it still could be.

This debate hinges on what you call ‘a problem’ when it comes to gambling. Some people focus on the gambling behaviour itself, some people take a look at what else is going on around them to judge if gambling has become an issue.

We know that many people the world over don’t run into any issues with gambling – gambling is a form of entertainment, whether they have a budget for it or whether they just spend a little time and money when they feel like it.

However, we do know that many others have a different, more difficult relationship with gambling, and it can become a serious problem. That’s when the time and / or money involved, and the way they begin to think about gambling, begins to impact their day-to-day lives.

This impact can be financial, but that may not be where it ends. Relationships can suffer, if someone is irritable, distracted by losses, secretive or deceitful about where money is being spent. The truth may remain hidden for some time, leading to stress and anxiety, depression or even worse.

Concentration and productivity at work, (or school, college and university) can suffer, and if you lose your job or fail an important test, it’s yet one more thing that may push you further into a vicious and downward spiral.

If you are missing out on something – whether because you don’t have the money for it, all your time is spent gambling or even because you’re not fully engaged in your life, constantly thinking about your next win – gambling is a problem.

It may be only a little problem now, or it may be catastrophic for you, but it’s a problem all the same.

Help is at hand. GamCare provides free support and counselling for anyone affected by problem gambling, however much of a concern it is for you. That’s what we’re here for – to guide you to a place where you can make informed decisions about your gambling behaviour, or that of someone close to you.

Reach out – our Advisers are available each day from 8am – Midnight, on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat on the NetLine. If you would like to organise free GamCare counselling, either online or local to you, they can talk you through what’s involved and make the referral for you.

If you’d rather speak to others dealing with problem gambling, our Forum is available every day, and we run daily Chatrooms too.

Whatever you’re going through, support is available. You are not alone.