Are you one of those people who only joins in the office sweepstake or the Christmas raffle or are you one of those people who enjoys a fun night at the Casino? Or have you never gambled at all? For the majority of people gambling is a safe, sociable and enjoyable leisure activity. For others gambling can be addictive and cause harm for themselves and their families.
Many of us like to place the odd bet or play the lottery – and it’s only a problem for about 9 people in every 1000. Gambling is often considered a hidden addiction, but it is thought a further 40 people out of every 1000 gamble at risky levels that can become a problem in the future. In Leeds the problem gambling rates are broadly twice the national average.
But having the odd flutter doesn’t really harm, does it?
It can happen to anyone from any walk of life: your gambling goes from a fun, innocuous diversion to an unhealthy preoccupation with serious consequences. Whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots—in a casino, at the track, or online—if your gambling becomes a problem, it can strain your relationships, interfere with work, and lead to financial disaster. You may even do things you never thought you would, like stealing money to gamble or pay debts. It may feel like you can’t stop, but with the right help, you can overcome a gambling problem or addiction and regain control of your life.
Of course, you can also have a gambling problem without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences in your life, you have a gambling problem.
What can I do if I am worried about gambling?
You can go to the Leeds Mic – the Money Information Centre to find out what support is available
There are other support agencies that are able to offer safe, confidential and non-judgmental help:
- GamCare has a telephone helpline 0808 8020 133, an online forum and chatroom and NetLine.
- Gamblers Anonymous
- NHS Choices
What have you got to lose?