By Sara Croymans, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency
Gambling has become a popular activity for many people. According to the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance, 75 percent of Minnesota adults participate in some form of gambling in any given year.
Gambling is usually a fun, leisure-time activity, whether it’s playing bingo at church, buying lottery tickets or pull tabs, or participating in an office pool. For some individuals, however, gambling can change from an entertaining pastime to a harmful addiction. It’s important to know the signs of problem gambling and how to get help dealing with it.
Problem gambling, also called compulsive gambling, is defined as the urge to gamble despite harmful consequences or a desire to stop. Besides harming themselves, problem gamblers behave in ways that can have harmful effects on their families. And yet, starting a conversation with loved ones about problem gambling so they can get help can be challenging.
Whether you’re struggling with problem gambling yourself or worried about a spouse, family member, or friend, help is available through a number of treatment programs and online resources, such as the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance. For more information about problem gambling and resources for dealing with it, see When Is Gambling a Problem?