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What is Gambling?
Webster defines the intransitive verb gamble


to play a game for (as money or

to bet on an uncertain outcome;
to stake something on a contingency:

It defines the transitive verb gamble:

1. to risk by gambling: WAGER;

What is Gambling?

Gambling is playing a game of chance or betting

money on the outcome of an event, race, game
or outcome.
(Gambling Education for Teens, California Council on Problem

A simpler way to think of gambling is that any

time you participate in an activity, in which you
try to win more than what you had before, you
are gambling.

What is Gambling?

Games of Chance
Arcades, Rolling Dice, Lotteries, Bingo,
Scratch & Win, Flipping Cards, Raffles
Sweepstakes, Sporting Events

Games of Skill
Poker, Pool, Darts
Video Games, Race Track, Marbles

Types of Gambling
Normal Gambling what most people (estimated at 95 percent of
the population) do for fun and entertainment.
They have a limit to the amount of money they
will use to gamble, and when theyve reached
the limit they will stop.
Win, lose or draw, they stop when they choose.
They may gamble once a year, once a month or
once a week, but it does not cause problems
with their day-to-day life.

Types of Gambling
Problem Gambling Starts when people gamble over the limit they
have set for themselves and gamble longer than
they thought they would. This may start to
happen on a regular basis.
They may start to have problems with their
family, school or work because of it.
They can stop when they want to and may not be
addicted yet.
(Problem gamblers are 3-5 percent of the
population according to the Harvard Medical
School Center for Addiction Studies MetaAnalysis.)

Types of Gambling
Pathological or Compulsive Gambling

An addictive illness. (The Harvard Medical School Center

for Addiction Studies MetaAnalysis reports that slightly

more than 1 percent of the population is pathological or
compulsive gamblers.)

The person has an uncontrollable impulse to gamble and

cant stop.
These people may skip meals, lose sleep, forget to pick
up their kids from school, and avoid doctor
appointments, school, work, or even life just to gamble.
Its all they want to do.
They may file for bankruptcy, get a divorce, lie and steal
from others, and even commit suicide because of the
mess gambling has caused in their lives.

The three phases of compulsive

gambling are:

Winning Phase fun, exciting, entertaining,

rewarding with occasional big wins. Unreasonable

optimism, fantasies about the big win.
Losing Phase loses consistently while betting
increases. Preoccupation with gambling, sells personal
possessions, borrows to bet, personality changes,
gambles to recoup losses (called chasing the bet),
misses work or school.
Desperation Phase stealing, criminal activity to
cover bets, panic and depression, alienation from
friends/family, drops out of school/loses job. Self-esteem
destroyed. Thinks about suicide.


In every state, except:

Kentucky (some)

Total gaming revenues in U.S.

exceed $600 billion anually.

Teen Gambling Warning Signs

Unexplained need for money

Valuables and money missing from home
Frequent cards/dice games at home
Missing or late for school; misses social
Excessive and intensive TV sports watching
Interest in periodicals reporting sports results
Carrying large amounts of cash
Short, late-night phone calls to 900 numbers

Teen Gamblers are Often:

Intellectually astute
Charming and loving
Energized and enduring
A risk-taker
Achievement oriented
Dreaming of the big win
Cleaver rationalizes and
justifies the compulsive
Focused on hobbies that include gambling
Often insecure and manifesting low self-esteem
Unrealistic about goals
Hooked by distorted optimism

Teen Gambling Warning Signs

Gambling paraphernalia

(betting slips, lottery tickets)

Sells prized possessions

Forgets appointments and dates
Drop in grades and loss of non-gambling funds
Cultivates gambling language
Gambles to escape problems or disappointments
May become addicted to alcohol or other drugs
Often resorts to illegal activities to finance

How to Spot a Problem Gambler


Always thinking about gambling or having an urge to

gamble that they cant stop.
Having to bet more money more often to keep up the
thrill of gambling.
Being really cranky when trying to cut back.
Lying to hide gambling.
Making bets through illegal activity.
Trying to win the money they lost by gambling more.
Using gambling as an escape.
Making people they love unhappy.
Relying on others to help them when they lose all their
Not able to control or stop their gambling.

If you suspect someone has a

gambling problem and needs help,
call 1-800-GAMBLER