Gambling is an amusing, harmless and fun pastime for many people. Whether you play, roulette, the slot machines or one of the various other games, the excitement of a possible financial windfall is exhilarating. For some people, even a bit of extra pocket money is worth the financial loss they may experience when gambling. People who allocate a certain amount of money to “waste” and then are able to walk away freely without trying to recoup their losses do not typically have a problem with the entertainment.

Many people who enjoy going to a nearby casino for an evening out. They often go with family and friends and partake of the scrumptious buffets available either before or after playing the games. For these people gambling is not a problem. It is one of many ways that they spend their leisure time. It is not an obsession or a compulsion for them.

If you find yourself trying to convince friends or family to go gambling instead of a concert everyone wants to attend or a movie or restaurant they want to experience, consider the fact that you may have a gambling addiction. This is even more apparent if you find yourself spending too much time on online gambling in secret or you head to the casinos alone because no one else will join you. Gambling can take over your life; so much so that it becomes more important than your family, home or career.

Another signal that you have a problem is if you spend money on gambling that is necessary to pay bills, buy groceries or other financial responsibilities. If the thought of gambling is on your mind more often than not, you should consider counseling; seek help from Gamblers Anonymous or a similar organization. Missing work or school to engage in a gambling activity, ignoring loved ones who are worried about your gambling habits or lying to them about it are other signs. Gamblers who do not seek help risk losing everything and are often suicidal.

Many people allocate money for leisure activities into their budget each week or month. If you only gamble with this money and aren’t tempted to spend more, it rarely becomes a problem. Other people spend the allotted money on gambling and then withdraw more money from an ATM machine or dig deeper into their wallets. They are convinced that the big “win” is just a slot pull away. The behavior often results in compulsive and too frequent gambling.

This type of behavior can destroy families. The need to gamble becomes more important than keeping up the car or household repairs. Sometimes a gambling addiction causes the persons families to lose their cars, homes and other belongings.

Set a limit when you go gambling and stick to it. If you find this impossible, it is best to avoid this activity altogether. If gambling is a problem for you, stop associating with people who repeatedly invite you to come along for fun. Be honest and tell them that you believe it is now or will be a major problem for you in the future. If they are true friends, they will not contribute to the situation by nagging you to go along “just this once.”

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Ryan Devereux writes on behalf of Arias Ozzello & Gignac LLP who provide legal services quickly and inexpensively.