Gambling Panel at UNH on October 20, 2015

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Facts: Gambling in College

1 out of every 20 college students has a problem with gambling?
95% of adults in the United States have gambled in some way?

There is gambling all around us now in our society. Most states have legalized the lottery, there are legal casinos, schools and service agencies that use gambling as a way to fundraise, and shows involving gambling are all over the television. The internet allows easy access to gambling and there are also many opportunities to bet on sporting events.

For most people, gambling is a way to socialize and have fun. For others, it can become an addiction. Recently, more attention has been given to "gambling disorder" or gambling problem and there is a particular concern about an increased amount of gambling and gambling problems by college students and teenagers.

Approximately 1 percent of the adult population in the United States has a severe gambling problem. 

The most recent research estimates that 6 percent of young people and young adults have a gambling problem. 

What is compulsive gambling?

Gambling disorder is a progressive behavior disorder in which an individual has a psychologically uncontrollable preoccupation and urge to gamble; increasing tolerance (e.g., needs to gambling more money to achieve the desired excitement). "chasing losses", symptoms of withdrawal if gambling is reduced or stopped; and inability to reduce or stop gaming. Many of these characteristics are similar to alcohol and other drug dependence. 

Unless treated, the gambling will reach the point where it compromises, disrupts and then destroys the gambler’s personal life, family relationships, and school and vocational pursuits.

Stages of Gambling Disorder

Two red dice

Winning Phase

Gambling wins enhance self-image and ego. Losses are rationalized as temporary bad luck. The gambler feels intense excitement and identifies with being a winner. (1-3 years)

Losing State

Losses outweigh wins and all gains are wiped out. The gambler begins to chase losses (gambling in order to get even). He/she will borrow money, seek possessions to get gambling resources in the belief that losses can be won back.

Desperation State

Compulsive gamblers think only about gambling. They may exhibit visible personality changes. They are driven. Gambling takes priority over work, school, family and other life aspects. They will pile up several debts that create more life problems. They often experience severe mood swings and may commit crimes to get gambling money. Compulsive gamblers do not see a future without gambling. Suicide may be considered a way out.

Cards of spades laying on the tableShould you be concerned about your gambling?

  • Do you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
  • Has gambling ever made your home or personal life unhappy?
  • Does gambling affect your reputation?
  • Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  • Have your grades dropped as result of gambling?
  • Is gambling the most exciting thing you do?
  • Have references to gambling or gambling language increased in your conversations?
  • Have you ever hid your gambling from your roommate/family/partner/friends?
  • Have you ever gambled with money intended for college expenses and then had to ask for money from family/friends/others? Have you ever not paid this money back?
  • Have you made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling?
  • Do you ever gamble to get money to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
  • Have you ever been criticized about your gambling or told you have a problem?
  • Have you ever felt you had a problem with gambling?
  • Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  • After losing do you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
  • After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
  • Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  • Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
  • Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
  • Have you ever been reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
  • Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
  • Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  • Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
  • Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
  • Have you ever concealed how much money you are spending?
  • Do you notice you need to spend more and more money to feel the excitement from gambling?
  • Do you crave the experience of the big win?
  • Do wish you could stop making bets, but find you can’t?
  • Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create an urge to gamble?
  • Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  • Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Most individuals with a gambling problem will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.
If you think you might have a problem talk with someone you trust, and/or with a professional; contact the Health & Wellness at 862-3823 or the Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS) at 862-2090.

Thinking about changing your gambling behavior?
National 24-Hours Problem Gambling Helpline (confidential): 1-800-522-4700
This confidential gambling helpline is available to talk to you about your own or someone you know gambling problem. It can provide support and referral to resources. 

How do I know if someone I know and care about has a problem with gambling?

  • Change in personality.
  • Sudden drop in grades.
  • Unexplained absences from classes, work, or other important responsibilities.
  • Possession of a large amount of money or exaggerated display of money or material possessions.
  • An intense interest in gambling.
  • Increased use of gambling language in daily conversations.
  • Visible change in behavior (e.g. mood changes, behavior changes, etc.)

How can I help someone I think might have a problem with gambling?

If you are seeing behaviors that concern you, make a time to talk with this person.

  • Tell the person you care about them.
  • Tell the person what you have observed and how this makes you feel.Playing cards and chips on poker table with the ace of spades
  • Listen to what they have to say.
  • Tell the person what you would like them to do including:
  • Setting limits on gambling
  • Talking to person they trust
  • Getting professional help
  • Tell the person how you are willing to talk or assist them in getting help.
  • Don’t enable their behavior by lending them money or covering up for their behaviors.


Gambler Anonymous Meetings