Bingo. A fun and easy night out. Right?
It can be.
But Bingo can also become addictive, and a compulsive Bingo player can seriously impact her/his life with negative consequences. We review how Bingo can become addictive and offer the Top 5 symptoms of Bingo addiction below.
A brief history of B-I-N-G-O
Today, the game of Bingo is offered in casinos and online, and the number of players has increased. Initially, the game can be traced back to a lottery game called, “Il Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia” played in Italy in c. 1530. In the eighteenth century, the game matured and in France the reading out of numbers began. So how did a game intended to raise money for church events start to affect people’s lives?
Bingo can become compulsive
Many years ago I sat in the Church Hall on Bingo nights, at the senior citizen’s club, or at the VFW Hall, believing it was an innocent form of entertainment. I felt the same excitement and adrenalin rush that I felt years later, when I sat in front of the slot machines in casinos. You see, symptoms of slot machine addiction or Bingo addiction are the same … and start the moment that you feel that rush, get the high.
I can remember the ladies on each side of me with more than fifteen cards laid out on the table and their hand holding the dauber, flying across the cards as they listened to the called numbers. The table in front of some of the loyal players would be covered with photos of their family, lucky statues or pendants, and an occasional rabbit’s foot. It was a serious game.
In the past twenty years I have learned that many Bingo players become addicted and need treatment, counseling, or Gamblers Anonymous meetings. One night at our GA meeting a lady told me she was addicted to Bingo and I thought, “How can you get in trouble playing Bingo?” While she shared her story she told the group, “Well I get $620 each month from the State and I spend $490 at the Bingo Hall.” That left her $130 to live on for the month.
Symptoms of Bingo addiction
It does not matter what game we become addicted to, if we show symptoms of gambling addiction, we have a problem. In fact, a Bingo player goes through the same phases as the card player, slot player, sports bettor, etc. in the cycle of compulsive gambling addiction . The phases are the winning phase, the losing phase, and the desperation phase. When a player starts to notice the consequences of gaming, they can start to feel depressed and begin to isolate, lie, and blame others for their problem. Some other symptoms of Bingo addiction include:
Bingo starts to disrupt lives – Arguments with family about time spent playing the game, lying about money lost, missing birthdays or other family functions, and even interfering with their jobs. Some Bingo players have left their small children at home or in cars outside the Bingo parlors while they played the game.
Escape – Bingo addicts play to relieve the stress of something gone wrong in their lives, real or imaginary issues.
Preoccupation – People who are addicted to Bingo obessessively think about playing the game when they are not sitting at the Bingo table, and making plans for their next visit.
Tolerance – A Bingo player who has developed into a compulsive Bingo gambler needs to play more often or add more cards, to reach the same initial high or buzz that they got when they started playing.
Withdrawal – When the addicted Bingo player makes an attempt to stop playing, they experience symptoms of restlessness, insomnia, and irritability. The discover that they cannot stop.
Online Bingo and increasing problems
Today, Bingo has evolved into popular online games where a player only needs a credit card, and can sit in their pajamas in front of their computers and play all day. There are more than 2,000 online gambling websites and more being added. One online bingo industry stated it had 80% female audience. Dr. Bowden-Jones, head of the National Problem Gambling Clinic based in Shoho in London, stated that some women play up to ten hours a day online.
Help for Bingo addiction
The positive news for an addicted Bingo players is that there is help. Help for compulsive gambling can be found via support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous, through self help programs, in counseling psychotherapy, or even in outpatient or inpatient treatment centers specializing in gambling problems. In treatment for compulsive gambling you can learn about your behavior and download wisdom from those who have been successful before you.
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