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Gambling Awareness Month

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Blue Ribbon with the words Problem Gambling Awareness Month

A Guide for Understanding Problem Gambling

The month of March is dedicated to raising awareness about problem gambling. Gambling Awareness Month serves as an important opportunity to shed light on the impact of problem gambling on individuals, families, and communities. With the widespread availability of gambling opportunities both in-person and online, it’s more important than ever to educate ourselves about the signs of problem gambling and the resources available for those who need help. 

Recognizing Signs 

Problem gambling, also known as gambling addiction, compulsive gambling, or gambling disorder, is characterized by an inability to control one’s gambling behavior despite negative consequences. It can manifest in various forms, from frequent casinos visits to excessive online betting.

Common signs include:

  • Preoccupation with gambling
  • Lying about gambling activities
  • Jeopardizing relationships or responsibilities
  • Chasing losses in an attempt to recoup previous losses

Risk Factors

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety
  • Exposure to gambling at a young age
  • Peer pressure to engage in betting as a social activity


The consequences can be devastating, affecting not only the individual struggling with the addiction but also their loved ones and the broader community. Financial problems, strained relationships, and mental health issues are common outcomes of problem gambling. The stress and anxiety associated with this addiction can also lead to physical health problems and a decreased quality of life. 

Tips for Responsible Gambling 

Engaging in responsible gambling behaviors is essential for minimizing the risk of developing a problem.

  • Set limits on both the time and money you spend and stick to them
  • Avoid gambling when you’re feeling stressed, depressed, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Consider alternative forms of entertainment and/or hobbies

Seeking Help

If you or someone you know is struggling, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. There are numerous resources and support services available, including helplines, support groups, and counseling services. Treatment options may include individual therapy, group therapy, and medication. Remember, you are not alone, and there is support available to help you overcome problem gambling

Supporting Loved Ones

If you suspect that a friend or family member is struggling, it’s important to approach the topic with sensitivity and compassion. Offer your support and encouragement, but avoid enabling their behavior. Encourage them to seek professional help and provide them with information about available resources and support services. 

Promoting Awareness and Prevention 

Community organizations, mental health agencies, and government initiatives play a crucial role in promoting awareness and prevention efforts. By educating the public about the risks associated with problem gambling and advocating for policy changes, we can work towards creating a safer and more supportive environment for individuals affected by this addiction. 

As we observe Gambling Awareness this March, let’s take the time to educate ourselves and others about the importance of responsible practices and to share resources for those struggling with this problem. By raising awareness and offering support, we can help individuals overcome their addiction and build healthier, happier lives. 

Nina Gallivan wears a pink sweater and has medium-length blonde hair. She has a bright, welcoming smile.

About Nina Gallivan

I have been providing counseling and treatment to teens and adults who struggle with substance abuse, problem gambling, and anxiety and depression for the past 14 years. I really do love working with people and am so grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside them as they navigate through difficulties in life. It is empowering and beautiful to see people make positive changes and improve their quality of life.

View my therapist profile.