Gambling and Gambling Addiction

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Gambling involves wagering something of value on an uncertain event, where instances of skill are discounted. The activity is often a form of recreation, although it can also be a means of raising money. It has been a popular pastime for centuries, and it has been both embraced by the public and suppressed by law in many places. It has become a significant source of income and has provided a stimulus to organized crime, including mafia activities in some areas. The late 20th century, however, saw a softening of attitudes towards gambling and relaxation of laws against it.

A number of studies purport to explore the economic impact of gambling, but few make a genuine effort to identify benefits and costs. Instead, most fall into one of two categories. The first group of studies tends to emphasize gross impact, but do not attempt to determine the value of these impacts. The second group focuses on description over analysis, but also fails to provide a meaningful perspective (Grinols, 1998).

It is important for family members to understand that coping with a problem gambler is an ongoing process. Family therapy and marriage, career, and credit counseling can help individuals address the specific issues that have been created by the problem gambler’s actions. They can also offer support and encouragement to a person who is struggling to overcome their addiction to gambling. It is also helpful to set financial boundaries and take control of household finances, and to regularly review bank and credit card statements. In addition, it is a good idea to join a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and has helped many people overcome their addictions to gambling.

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