I’m all in! Show me the money! It is estimated that three percent of all adults experience the addictions of gambling. Gambling is to play a game of chance for money or stakes. With legalized gambling as one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, the chances of that little three percent to increase, is extremely high. I believe gambling is a dangerous addiction.
Gambling may start out as innocent fun. The atmosphere is heightening, and exciting. The cheers for wins are ringing in your ears. Suddenly, you feel urged to slip that coin into that spinning machine, to place a bet on your lucky number, or to buy in some cash for a seat at the table. Unexpectedly, everything is going as you planned! You hit the triple sevens, the little white ball was spun onto your lucky number 5, and you doubled up with your call. These occurrences lead gamblers into their compulsive state, craving for more success and not realizing that gambling is a game of chance: luck or fortune. Luck does run out, and it will. Gambling is the minute bad habit, that turns into a devastating addiction.
The little three percent of adults that are affected by gambling are also going to end up facing deep debts, job losses, family disruption, and suicide. Pathological gambling is a disease which affects the gambler and the significant other. It is considered a “disorder of impulse control” by the American Psychiatric Association. Most pathological gamblers do not realize they have a gambling problem. They refuse to believe that their hobby will have consequences. However, once their winning phase is over, and they’ve pushed their luck to the limits, the consequences fall in place. Phase two strikes them, and problems occur. Losing a few hands is tough, losing a few games is a bit unnerving, losing all of your winnings is devastating. You start to spend more time gambling, hoping to rebuild your stakes, telling your wife you’ll be home a little late from work. However, once those lies are caught, and those debts are knocking at your door, what then? The addiction can ruin lives.
Watching Jamie Gold ease his way to the top, and ultimately winning the World Series of Poker 2007, you start to think about the money. Thoughts arise. “I can do that,” “It’s possible,” “I’d never have to work again…” We see only what we want to see. What about those who lose? Chances may be high or low, you may win or lose. There are no guesses to what may happen in a simple game of cards. The truth of the matter is, you’re not that lucky. Your winnings will not pay for all your bills, it will not provide for your family, and it definitely will not be there forever. After an all-nighter of poker, and winning fifteen-hundred dollars, work doesn’t feel so necessary the next morning. Gradually, the more days you miss, the higher chances are for you to get fired. Compulsive gamblers do not realize that gambling can not be a way of life, it’s merely a bad “hobby.”
I believe gambling is an addiction. It begins as a little bad habit and turns into an addiction. It also disrupts the life that revolves around the gambler and causes many problems, often times resulting in ruined lives. The chances that gambling can become a job and way of life is slim. Most compulsive gamblers do not realize their addiction until its too late. I believe the addiction pulls us deeper than we want it to, and I believe that although it is an addiction, it can be broken.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.