Does gambling ruin lives?

Not always. Gambling can ruin the lives of compulsive, addicted gamblers. More on the distinction between problem gambling and gambling for fun here.

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Life itself is a gamble but it is also a necessity. Marriage, employment, re-locating, etc, are all risks that we take. But each of these activities can be successful with careful planning. With gambling, however, there are no dependable plans. And yes, gambling can ruin lives.

Entertainment can lead to addiction

Gambling can be a harmless form of entertainment for many individuals but for the person with a compulsive, addictive personality, gambling can destroy his life. Winning is short-lived because the person returns to the casino to win more and eventually, to chase his losses. Even if the gambler walks away with a huge jackpot, he is caught up in the easy money and returns again and again; finally losing all. And even though the chances of winning money from jackpots and lotteries are slim… the chances of a problem gambler hanging on to the free money is even slimmer. We’ve all read many stories of the gambler who won millions of dollars only to learn that two years later the money is gone and the person is destitute. Here’s what really happens when you get into gambling…

The real consequences of gambling

Gambling problems are worldwide. The person with an addiction to gaming can gamble away their retirement funds and pension check. They can gamble away monies saved for their sons or daughters school tuitions. If the son or daughter reaches the college campus and a casino is nearby, many times the student will gamble away their tuition funds.

Criminal acts are committed such as embezzling funds from employers, forging checks, and even murders have been committed to gain access to life insurance monies. During heated discussions between family members regarding the gamblers lifestyle, the arguments may lead to a person being killed.

Lying about the gambling escapades is common among compulsive gamblers and eventually destroys family trust and many times ends in divorce. Pawning or selling family heirlooms, visiting Payday loan companies, and the loss of homes and jobs are widespread.

The effects gambling has on the kids can be devastating. The constant lies they hear from the gambler and the bickering and threats between the two parents can cause mental pain and low self-esteem in the child.

Furthermore, prison, insanity or death can occur if the gambler does not find a way to stop the madness. Suicides are common among addicted gamblers. When the person loses the families’ life savings, mortgages the home for the second or third time, maxes out all credit cards, the guilt and remorse are so great, the gambler takes their own lives.

Is government revenue really a benefit?

Government may benefit from taxes on gambling but after the gamblers loses everything, the cost to the government outweighs the benefits of the tax revenue. The revenue earned from taxes levied on lottery jackpots or wins from casino gambling is small when compared to the monies spent to combat crime, loss of homes and employment, bankruptcy, credit card debts, etc. Compulsive gambling affects the community and the economy. Monies which should have been spent on necessities are lost in the casinos.

Getting help for gambling problems

Recovery from the addiction is possible and thousands of gamblers around the world are in recovery from the addictions by utilizing 12-step programs and counseling. Ultimately, the only way to get money is through work, gifts, or inheritances.  And you can learn this when you are ready to stop gambling.

About the author
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.
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