Myths about gambling addiction

Many people associated gambling addiction with certain beliefs and over the years a number of popular myths about it have emerged. Popular myths include:

  • You have to gamble everyday to be a gambling addict: This is not true. A problem gambler may only gamble occasionally but it can still cause problems. ‘Problem gambling’ is gambling that causes problems; if somebody cannot afford to gamble and they start gambling, this can be classed as problem gambling.
  • Paying off a gambler’s debt is the best way to help them: This may appear to be the best possible thing to do to help someone with gambling debts. However, this is not always the case and bailing a gambler out may only serve to encourage their habit, as they may feel they can start to gamble again because they are no longer in debt
  • Gambling is not a problem if the gambler is rich: This is not true because gambling has other consequences, in addition to financial implications. Gambling can affect relationships and contribute to problems at work and strained friendships.
  • Gamblers are driven to gamble by their partners: This is usually not the case and is often offered by gamblers as an excuse or a means of rationalising their behaviour.
  • ‘I’m bound to win because I’ve had such a long losing streak’: This is not true. In the vast majority of cases, the bookies win and the odds are stacked against gamblers.
  • Compulsive gambling only affects irresponsible people: Anyone can get hooked on gambling. Some of the most successful people in the world have suffered from gambling addictions.
  • It is easy to spot compulsive gamblers: This is not true. In many cases, people with a gambling problem are very secretive and do a very good job of hiding their problem. Often a gambling addiction comes as a huge surprise to the individual’s friends and family.
  • For many what starts out as a casual habit can become a consuming addiction, and even the most responsible people can quickly become addicted. Many people assume they could just give up gambling whenever they wanted to. However, in reality, when they actually try to give up they find it extremely difficult and continue to gamble.