Problem Gambling An Addiction:
I believe gambling is an addiction which affects personal finances, personal relationships and increases family violence and abuses.
Working as a convenience store clerk at the Shell Food Mart, I have had personal experiences with some of the problem gamblers. Jack is one those, middle class income, problem gambler. He is working with the construction crew, laying bricks. Jack plays lottery without control, spending somewhere between $500 to $700 per week. This is not only at one store he goes around from store to store in the hope of winning ‘Big Money’. I have seen him playing lotteries everyday 30 minutes prior when he goes to work at 7 in the morning. He would come back and visit me again around lunch time to inquire about midday Cash 3 and Cash 4 drawing numbers and while waiting, scratch some more tickets. When he gets off from work around 6 o’clock he stops by again and spends half an hour to one hour scratching lottery tickets until the evening cash 3 drawing. I always used to wonder that he must be thinking about lottery numbers and lottery drawings even in his dreams!
I questioned Jack, “Why do you play so much?”. He replied superstitiously, “I have a special feeling that God is giving me signs to play the first numbers I sees in the morning”. He explained further giving example, “If I wake up at 5 past 6 I would play 605 for midday or when I go out from his home and the first vehicle tag number I see, I would play heavily on that number”. Other than these numbers I see him playing his regular numbers such as his phone numbers, his and his family’s birthdates etc. I have hardly seen him winning enough money even to equal his playing amounts.
I have seen Jack blowing off his entire paycheck on lottery. His wife spies on him. She goes from convenience store to store to check and see whether his husband is playing the lottery. One day she caught him red’-handed playing lottery at the store and created a big fuss. Even after making big promises to his wife and his elder son that he would quit gambling, I have seen Jack break these promises. Jack always grumbles about his wife shouting and spying on him, and how financially tight they were.
I only had one advice for him which was difficult for him to do due to his obsession to the gambling. I have seen his troubled family relations and his financial crises.
This type of problem gambling is not only limited to lotteries but is also seen in Casinos, Clubs, Pubs, Video games, Pokers, Races, etc.
Problem gambling is not only a financial problem but is also an emotional problem due to uncontrollable obsession to gambling that leads to family abuses, increase in felony convictions, affecting personal relations and of course, tremendous waste of money. It is no different than an alcohol or a drug addiction in which people try to beg, borrow or steal in order to fulfill their craving.
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