Gambling Addictions Within Today's Society

Essay by sexyberthaCollege, UndergraduateA-, January 2009

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Gambling is unquestionably an addiction. Due to the misuse of the word addict in today's society, many argue that gambling is not justified as an addiction, however this is incorrect. Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, with the legalization of gambling, the numbers of excessive gamblers has increased rapidly (Stitt 434). It is evident that excessive gambling can be associated with numerous severe financial, social, and mental health problems. These are all symptoms that seriously affect people in ways that positively classify gambling as an addiction.

Financial difficulty is just one of many devastating outcomes of an addiction because the addict is unable to control gambling behaviours, such as placing bets and going to casinos. A common behaviour in gamblers is "chasing," which refers to betting larger sums of money or taking greater risks in order to replace previous losses (Stitt 437). The temptation to bet excessive amounts of money often grows with the odds of winning.

The severity of a gambling problem leaves the addict in an unstable financial state which can range anywhere from the occasional missed utility bill to bankruptcy. Because the person cannot control these financial struggles, gambling is undoubtedly an addiction.

As well as financial problems, gambling has a major effect on the person's social life, deeming it as an addiction. Pathological gambling is characterized by The Journal of Gambling Studies as "uncontrollable gambling well beyond the point of a social or recreational activity" (Stitt 447). Relationships suffer when a person is addicted to gambling and they tend to lose sight of their morals. They feel it is ok to "borrow" from friends, family, or financial institutions to cover up their addictive behaviours and pay off their debts; however, this consistently leads the lending party to resentment once the amount of time and money spent on...