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Gambling addiction or gambling as a hobby?

gambling addiction

How do you view gambling?

Gambling has been around for hundreds of years. Have you ever wonder whether gambling is a hobby or an addiction? In this article, we will look at gambling addiction through the opinions of some of the psychologist who has experience with treating various gambling patience.

Gambling is define as wagering of money for an event with uncertain outcome with the main intention of winning additional money, material or goods. We have all seen or may be heard of stories whereby gambling can have a destructive and devastating effect on the person and the people around them. Gambling addiction can actually develop over time and you may not even notice when this behavior is compulsive or getting out of hand. However, gambling can also be an enjoyable hobby for some people. People who enjoy gambling also do not mean that they are addicted to it.

Gambling addiction

The main determining factor on whether gambling is an addiction for you is when you can’t control the activities and behavior that you carry out when you are gambling. Some players would enjoy the game and treat it as a recreational activity while some would develop a compulsive habit with serious consequences towards gambling.

‘Many people come to me to seek help regarding interrelated mental health issue that is fuel or may fuel by gambling behavior. Before we are able to help them, we must diagnose whether they have a mild gambling problem, major compulsive or just an expensive hobby that is all in for good fun,’  said the addiction psychologist and certified addiction counselor in Pennsylvania.

According to the expert, it is rare to develop gambling addiction after your very first gambling experience. Usually the problem will take time as it might progress over time. Many people would also participate in social gambling for years with any problem. Frequent gambling and daily stress are some of the factors that contribute to social gambling into becoming a gambling addiction. To most people, they would be able to stop gamble after a few losses as they are able to set loss limit and follow it without any issue.

People with gambling addiction on the other hand would feel a strong urge to keep gambling to recoup their lost money. Whenever this happen, things can get out of control. As a result, the gambler will lose touch with reality and things can even get worst. Over the time, this matter will form a habit and it will become more destructive.

Seek for therapist help

Most of the compulsive gambler is using gambling to seek for thrill and not the money. Some of the gambler even start to take bigger risk and place bigger bets to keep things more exciting. This can lead to financial disaster. Whenever the gambler place bigger bets to recoup losses, lives can be destroyed. According to the therapist, most of the client hit rock bottom when they realize they are betting to recoup back their losses.

Unlike alcohol and drug addiction, gambling addiction has no physical symptoms or signs. In most cases, people with gambling addiction will deny that they have any gambling issue at all. Very often they would minimize the problem and refuse to admit that they are losing control in their gambling activity. Some of the actions that they would take to avoid being confront about their behavior include lying, sneak around, keep secrets and complete withdraw from the society. If you or the people around you have these symptoms, it is advisable to take a closer look for gambling addiction issue.

The path to recovery for the gambler include exposing the gambler’s secrets. Some steps to take include exposing the gambler’s extra credit cards, hidden cash, lies about their income, etc. If the right supportive measure is taken at the right time, the gambler will start to realize their gambling issue and seek for recovery. Other measure to take include seeking for therapist help and joining a gambler addiction counselling group will be helpful in the long term recovery of the addicted gambler. It is also important to stay supportive for people with gambling addiction issue during their recovery period.

Gambling addiction is similar to substance abuse where they have uncontrollable urges to consume a specific substance while causing negative impact to the addicted person and those around them. Gambler with addiction will have a strong urge to gamble especially during stressful and depressing time. The gambler will use gambling as a way to cope with his stress and soon problem develops and it will only get stronger without the right treatment and supportive group. Therefore, it is important to seek for help while the issue is at an early stage.

Gambling addiction diagnosis

Below is a list for gambling addiction for diagnosis purpose. A gambling disorder is made when someone meet at least 4 of the following 9 criteria within 12 months period:

Withdrawal: The gambler will get irritated when people around them attempt to stop him from gambling.

Loss of control: Fail repeated to cut down on gambling or stop on their own.

Escape: Using gambling to escape problems or to improve mood.

Chasing: Trying to recoup losses by placing larger bets.

Lying: Hiding about their gambling problem by lying to friends, family or even to the therapist.

Tolerance: Needing larger bets to experience the same ‘rush’.

Preoccupation: Frequently thinking about past gambling experiences and having fantasy on future gambling activities.

Risking a relationship: Gambler who are addicted will continue gambling even though they are losing important relationship, job or significant opportunity.

Bailout: In need of financial assistance due to their gambling activities.


For most people, gambling would just be another entertainment for them to past time or to enjoy some simple thrill. On the other hand, gambling would mean so much more to the gambling addicts until they lose control of their life due to gambling. As mentioned above, gambling addiction is similar to substance addiction. Therefore, it is important to seek immediate help and assistance if you or people around you have the same problem.

5 Responses to “Gambling addiction or gambling as a hobby?

  • Is there any place that help people quit gambling ?

    • SCR888 Free Credit
      4 years ago

      Hi burner. If you were to ask me, I would say gambling is purely recreational activity to help people relax their minds and bodies. However, people lost their way sometimes. They might not be able to discipline themselves during the betting process. Due to this reason, a numerous of non-profit organisations have been set up to help people addressing this issue in Malaysia. My recommendation to you is Ministry of Gambling, they have a large team of professional counsellors to guide you on quitting gambling. Hope this helps. Cheers

  • johncena
    4 years ago

    The Gambling addiction diagnosis base on globe standard ?

    • SCR888 Free Credit
      4 years ago

      Yes Johncena, the gambling addiction diagnosis is based on the highest global standard. This is to ensure its quality as well as to produce the most reliable diagnosis results.

  • Colene Danford
    4 years ago


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