Gambling Addiction Myths
There are numerous myths about gambling addiction, not only from those looking at the issue from the outside but also from people who are suffering from a gambling problem. Here are some of the common misconceptions.
Myths About Problem Gamblers
If they don’t gamble every day, they are not a problem gambler.
The frequency of the gambling is not as important as the effect that it has on the gambler and others around them. Whether they are a daily feature at the tables of a casino or they indulge in a monthly blowout at a race meeting, if that gambling is responsible for psychological, emotional or financial pain for the gambler and their close family and friends, it is classed as a problem.
If they can afford to lose the money, it is not a gambling problem.
The effect of someone’s gambling addiction does not have to be financial to be deemed a problem; there are serious issues that need to be addressed if a person’s gambling habits mean that they neglect friends or family, harm important relationships or disregard work and other obligations.
The best way to help a problem gambler is to pay off their debts.
The major issue with wiping a gambling addict’s slate clean is that it could encourage them to spend more, knowing they no longer have a debt to a bank, credit card company or loan shark hanging over them. It is better to help the problem gambler create a structured budget so that they can work towards paying off their debts as they seek professional help for their problems. Visit the finance and debt management page to learn more.
Misconceptions Made by Problem Gamblers
If I gamble more, I am eventually due a big win.
Due to the nature of gambling, each bet is a separate event and is not affected by the amount of bets that have preceded it or that follow it. You are not guaranteed a win, no matter how many bets you place.
If I keep gambling, I can win my losses back.
This myth can lead to a downward spiral in which the problem gambler is continuously chasing their own tail to try and dig themselves out of a financial hole. The more they spend on trying to make up their losses, the more they lose - and the more they wager to make up for those losses in turn.
The advantage always lies with the house when it comes to betting, which is why a win feels so good. People do win and some may even gain massive payouts, but casinos, bookmakers, bingo firms and poker clubs are businesses which need to make more money than they pay out in order to be successful.
I know that certain numbers are more likely to come up than others.
In a truly random numbers game, such as a lottery or roulette, every number has as much chance of coming up as any other. There is nothing you can do to influence it and, just because one number has been drawn more than any others, you cannot guarantee that it will appear again.
If I study a game and how it works, I am sure to win.
Again, every form of gambling relies on chance, not technique. You might know everything there is to know about craps, sports wagering or slots, but that has no effect on the outcome of your bets. You cannot accurately predict if a horse will run, if the dice will fall a certain way or if the reels will yield a jackpot.
If I sit in my lucky seat, I will definitely win.
Studies have shown that many compulsive gamblers display a tendency towards superstitious rituals that they think will bring them luck. This could include sitting in a certain position, carrying a lucky charm, blowing on the dice or any other irrational action.
These superstitious gamblers are also known to blame losses on bad luck, rather than accept that the odds were against them. These are referred to as ‘errors of reasoning’ by researchers and act merely to allow problem gamblers to absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions.
If you are worried about your gambling, make sure you check out the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction and use the resources available to you on this site to find help and support.