Problem Gambling

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide.

Problem Gambling Warning Signs

  • Spends a lot of time gambling - may miss work, school, family obligations, or other important events.
  • Hides gambling losses - frequency talk about the wins but keeps losses and information about family finances to themselves.
  • Gambles to escape - uses gambling to escape from pressures at home or work; also a person may gamble out of loneliness or grief.
  • Suffers severe mood swings - a person's state of mind depends on whether or not gambling, the person may become anxious or angry.
  • Bets increase in size - bets higher amounts in hope of breaking even or winning back losses.
  • Tries to stop gambling, but can't - a compulsive gambler may try to stop gambling, but in most cases is unable to quit without help.

Two-Question Gambling Tool

  1. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more?
  2. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gamble?

Reproduced with permission of authors and publisher from: Johnson, E.E., Hamer, R., Nora, R.M., Tan, B., Eistein, N., and Englehart, C. The Lie/Bet Questionnaire for screening pathological gamblers. Psychological Reports, 1997, 80, 83-88.


Where to Turn:

Counseling Center
Ball State University, Lucina Hall, Room 320
765-285-1736

Gamblers Anonymous Meetings in Indiana:  http://gamblersanonymous.org/mtgdirIN.html


For further information:
Gamblers Anonymous
National Council on Problem Gambling
Gambling Problems Resource Center
Indiana Council on Problem Gambling

Health, Alcohol, and Drug Education
1500 Neely Avenue
Muncie, Indiana 47306-0817

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summer Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-3775
Fax: 765-285-9063