Risk Factors for Problem Gambling

Why do some people develop gambling problems and others don’t? There is much debate among experts, and not everyone agrees on the causes and related factors. There do seem to be some risk factors, however, that are commonly found amongst those with problems.

ImageHaving a risk factor does not mean that you will develop a problem with your gambling, but it does mean that you may be at an increased risk compared to others who do not have these risk factors. Take a look at the list below to see if any apply to you. If so, being aware that you have a risk factor may help you to look carefully at your own gambling habits so future problems can be avoided.

  • Misunderstanding the way gambling works, especially the misunderstanding of random events and the belief that persistence pays off. If you think you have this risk factor, check this site’s How Gambling Really Works and Gambling Psychology 101.
  • Early big wins. Again, check How Gambling Really Works and Gambling Psychology 101for more information.
  • See gambling as a way to “make” money.
  • Mood disorders (having a history of depression or anxiety, for example).
  • Alcohol and/or substance abuse disorders.
  • Parental problem gambling (coming from a family where one or both parents have a gambling problem).
  • Tendency for impulsivity.
  • Competitiveness.
  • Being a young adult male.
  • Being in a lower income group.
  • Easily bored.
  • Use of gambling to escape from life problems.
  • Stressful life circumstances with a lack of support.

The above list is relatively short – there are likely many more risk factors. More studies are being done, and we will have a better understanding of risk factors in the future. The more knowledge we gain about gambling, the more control we have over our own situation. Check back on this website from time to time to learn more about gambling and other related issues.

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