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Problem gambling or ludomania

I hope you play and win, A gypsy curse.

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at maths, Ambrose Bierce.



What is it? Basically, it can be defined as pathological gambling. It is an urge to gamble continuously, an absolutely irresistible impulse to play despite being aware of its personal, social, and economic costs.

There are many opportunities to fall into this unhealthy behavior: Mobile gambling, video lottery terminals, slot machines, casinos, bingo, ticket lotteries, charitable lotteries, and Internet gaming, and almost as many variations: euromillions, instant lottery, international lottery, etc.

“Online gambling has been snowballing in the past two decades, thanks to the rise of the Internet and various technological advancements. Experts from Juniper Research predict that the profits of online gambling will reach $1 trillion by 2021,” Medium.com.



How to recognise the signs of compulsive gambling? You may use the following criteria:

The terrible consequence of this is that their self-esteem and reputation significantly deteriorate; assets, property, friends, and relatives are lost because gambling is a very expensive form of entertainment and gamblers betray their friends and relatives just for the sake of winning some money. Many become thieves and commit crimes to support their gambling habit. They suffer mental and physical health problems, such as depression, stress, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, insomnia, poor nutrition, increased caffeine and nicotine consumption, panic attacks, and ulcers.

How can we overcome it? It is possible to overcome it, like any other addiction, but it will take a long and tortuous process. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Do not download and install betting apps or start playing slot machines, casinos, bingo, etc. They may look innocent, but gambling may end up being an addiction and ruin your life. If you are a regular gambler, just stop betting. If you think that you can control it and that it is fun, set a limit on time and money, and stick to it. Gamble only if it is fun!
  2. Do not increase the amount of money that you spend on your bets.
  3. Recognise your addiction, realise that you have a very serious problem. As you can read in Gamblers Anonymous’s web site: “Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real problem gamblers. No one likes to think that they are different from their fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our gambling careers have been characterised by countless vain attempts to prove we could gamble like other people. The idea that somehow, some day, we will control our gambling is the great obsession of every compulsive gambler. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of prison, insanity or death.”
  4. Seek help from a professional and/or an organisation devoted to the rehabilitation of problem gamblers, such as Gamblers Anonymous: it “is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem,” and The National Council on Problem Gambling, “[Our mission] is to increase public awareness of pathological gambling, ensure the widespread availability of treatment for problem gamblers and their families, and to encourage research and programs for prevention and education.”
  5. Analyse and solve underlying problems: relationship problems, depression, low self-esteem, unemployment, substance abuse, etc.
  6. Keep control over your budget and pocket money.
  7. Reorganise your agenda, get involved in activities that foster safe habits and behaviour, and build relationships. Avoid loneliness and boredom!
  8. Change your lifestyle: live an active life, practise more sports and outdoor activities, avoid alcohol and drugs, establish a healthy rhythm of life, sleep well, etc.
  9. Put yourself on the self-exclusion list to be banned from casinos, bingos, etc.

You should understand that nobody gives money for free. Money is indeed very difficult to earn. Realise that behind a powerful and ubiquitous advertising, there is a lucrative industry that earns big money because of the immutable laws of Statistics. Sooner or later they always win and get huge profits from your gambling. Therefore, please, do not waste your money, do not ruin your life!

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