- Casino, Gambling, Gaming

My Friend – The Compulsive Gambler

Do you feel your loved one is gambling just for fun? Are they covering up how many times they go to the casino or bingo hall and how much they spend each time? Because gambling is an addiction, the mind takes over and makes its own choices for the gambler. Here are some signs and important things to look out for if you think a loved one or friend may be gambling their life away and simple ways to tell then they need to stop.

For those who say that someone who gambles can stop at a moment’s notice, maybe has not witnessed firsthand the effects and the control that gambling has on the human psyche.

As someone who is not a gambler and holds on to my money as if it were my last penny when I enter a casino or any establishment for that matter, I seem to analyze each slot machine before I even put two cents in. I know when to stop and maybe that is why I never win big, I usually just break even.

I would like to share my latest experience of going to the casino with a compulsive gambler with the hope it will give someone else the courage to help a friend.

After cashing in on just a few dollars and cents, I had nothing better to do than carefully observe the atmosphere of the casino I was visiting and the kind of people who occupy the machines and the tables during the middle of a weekday afternoon.

It is quite a relaxed place during the afternoons as people are in a light mood after getting respite from work and limiting themselves to judi online without any big bets.

The day started off as a couple of people heading up to Detroit to spend a day at the casino and maybe win it big. An acquaintance of mine had been hinting around for months that she was trying to get me to ride with her to the Greektown Casino, and I always seemed to have something going on that prevented me from saying yes, until one day last month when she asked again and to her surprise I said yes. One thing that intrigued me the most was the Casino was giving away $50,000 in a raffle at 6:30 that evening and it was free to enter, so I thought it sure would be nice to win some money, what have I got to lose?

I had heard of her whirlwind luck at Greektown, and all of her winnings, one that was even as much as $19,000 at one table for one hand of poker, which she said had helped her out of a huge financial bind as she had recently lost her job and the money helped her get caught up on all of her bills. She followed up with a comment that stated if I would have bet just one hundred more dollars I would have won $140,000. Intrigued, I felt the urge to go, still knowing in the back of my head that it was all about a stroke of luck.

When we got there I followed her around a bit and watched her try her hand at poker and a few slots. Knowing she was recently unemployed with limited funds coming in, I felt bad for her when in just the first 15 minutes of being at the casino, she lost $200. Then she started telling me a story about how she has to win that money back, because that was her daughter’s vacation money to go to Florida with. So we headed over to the ATM machine and she withdrew $150. This time she wanted to try her hand at the slot machine. To my shock, I watched as she slipped in twenty dollar bill after twenty dollar bill in and did nothing but hit one button to raise the bet every five seconds and the money kept slipping away. Another $150 was gone in a blink of an eye.

She was in tears literally and said that she had checks going through her account and that when it all cleared she would be overdrawn, if she didn’t make up for the money she lost today, she would be paying for it with overdraft fees and no way to cover the money she just spent plus the outstanding checks.

Her purse was a mess, being an addict like she was, everything inside was pure chaos, just like her financial life and now her personal life as well. She had credit cards strewn and dollar bills and pocket change was buried throughout. She managed to pull out three tattered credit cards, whip out her cell phone and request higher balances. She was able to do so only on two of the credit cards. So now it was back to the ATM to take out cash advances which carried a hefty withdrawal and several penalty fees. In a matter of minutes, $500 in credit card debt was racked up at a poker table. She was mad and angry and desperate. She called four friends and family members in front of me begging for the money, she said she would be good for it. With one friend she said she needed gas money to get back home, but no one gave in. I’m sure they have heard it all before.

We both decided it was time to head home, but waited around long enough to hear about the drawing to see if maybe we had won. I was secretly worried that if she would win the drawing she would blow it in minutes, or worse yet if I had won, she would probably beg me for some money. I knew right then and there that she was a compulsive gambler and she didn’t know how to stop. That was when I looked her in the eyes and told her ” I think you have a gambling problem.”

Here are some signs to look for to see if someone you love may be a compulsive gambler-

  • They are losing more than just a few dollars at the Casino at a time.
  • They are betting spontaneously and losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars at a time.
  • They have anger and resentment issues; using the words “If I only had twenty more dollars” or “if I would have played one more slot it would have hit!”
  • They are asking to borrow money all of the time.
  • They begin stealing.
  • The addict may suddenly develop another addiction or disorder such as an eating disorder or behavioral disorder.
  • The addict begins drinking alcohol more frequently.
  • The addict loses their job.
  • The addict may lose interest in spouse or family. Friends may begin to turn the gambler away.
  • The addict develops poor self esteem.
  • The addict experiences sudden emotional highs and sudden lows.

There are ways that you as a loved one or friend can help.

First, tell the person that you think they may have a problem with gambling. If they are in denial then you may want to nicely point out some characteristics that they resemble that are similar to gambling.

Offer treatment options for them at Gamblers Anonymous.

Offer your willingness to help them on their road to recovery. Tell them you love them but you will not help them feed their gambling habit any longer.

Let them know how their gambling has affected your life and theirs.

By getting the gambler help with the right counselors and advisor’s, you will not only help save them but help save yourself from losing a friend or family member too. The road to recovery should never be walked alone.