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Bingo addiction: Can you become addicted to Bingo?

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.

Please leave your questions or comments below!

Photo credit: Nikkorz

Leave a Reply

9 Responses to “Bingo addiction: Can you become addicted to Bingo?
4:17 am February 4th, 2014

hello i am one of those Bingo PLAYERS SO RIDICULOUS AFTER BILLS ARE PAID YOUR BORKE BY THE 2ND WEEK OF THE MONTH and it does get very stressful and aggravating I just buy one certain package but i go to 3 diiferent bingos i quit drinking 9 years ago cold turkey now bingo i really need to stop this non sense and do some thing more use ful with my eextra money thanks sheree

9:49 pm November 19th, 2014

Oh yes indeed, I know a bingo addict. She lives for bingo and she will do most anything for bingo money…not pay rent, write bad checks, borrow from everyone she knows. She was in to me for over $500 until I cut her off, I have better things for my money, such as utilities and food. She is 42 and single, I’d say she will stay that way unless she can find a man foolish enough to support her bingo, which always comes first.

11:51 pm November 30th, 2015

Is help available in Australia?

1:04 pm December 1st, 2015

Sure Ryna. I found the following resources online that can be useful to you:

6:34 pm November 20th, 2016

Looking for help with my addiction

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:34 pm November 21st, 2016

Hi Jacob. Call the helpline displayed on our website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find a treatment program that fits your needs.

3:35 am March 16th, 2017

Maybe they have problem & feeling alone they felt by her self to some reach out their problem so they go in bingo center to relieved

11:43 pm October 4th, 2018

help me guys i been addictive to this game i am loosing my family and love ones due to this game how can i avoid it?

2:16 pm October 10th, 2018

Hi nicka. Have you ever tried calling the Gamblers Anonymous hotline? They might be able to help. Here’s the website: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/hotlines

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About Marilyn Lancelot

Marilyn Lancelot is a recovering alcoholic and compulsive gambler with twenty years of recovery. She has authored three books, Gripped by Gambling , Detour, and Switching Addictions. She also publishes a newsletter on-line, Women Helping Women for recovery from gambling. This newsletter has been published for more than 10 years and is read by women and men around the world.