Why gambling is hitting the headlines

Do you gamble?

We’re not talking about the odd lottery ticket or flutter on the Grand National. But the kind of gambling that has become an addiction and can lead you into serious financial trouble.

Gambling hit the headlines recently with the story of Lisa Walker. In her 20’s she won over £127,000 playing poker. But, in hindsight, she described it as the worst night of her life because it led her into a struggle with compulsive gambling for over a decade. Not only did she end up losing all her winnings through further gambling, but also her home.

According to the charity Gamble Aware, gambling can be a particular issue for women, with around a million women in the UK at risk of harmful gambling.

In this article we take a brief look at how to recognise if you are addicted to gambling, and where to find help.

Signs that you are addicted to gambling

The Gambling Commission uses various tools to identify if someone has addiction to gambling. One of these is the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). It consists of nine questions to which you choose one of four answers that most accurately describes your gambling behaviour over the last 12 months. 

The four answers – and scores for each – are:

  • Never – 0
  • Sometimes – 1
  • Most of the time – 2
  • Almost always – 3

The nine questions are:

  1. Have you bet more than you could really afford to lose?
  2. Have you needed to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling of excitement?
  3. When you gambled, did you go back another day to try to win back the money you lost?
  4. Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get money to gamble?
  5. Have you felt that you might have a problem with gambling?
  6. Has gambling caused you any health problems, including stress or anxiety?
  7. Have people criticised your betting or told you that you had a gambling problem, regardless of whether or not you thought it was true?
  8. Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
  9. Have you felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?

 

Your total PGSI score will be between 0 to 27. If you score 8 or above, you are likely to be a problem gambler. If your score is between 3 and 7 you are at moderate risk from gambling.

There are other indexes, tools and questions that could be used to make a more thorough diagnosis. But if you have one of the above scores, it is worth taking an honest look at your situation and considering looking for help with gambling.

How to get help with problem gambling

If you do recognise that you need help to break your gambling addiction, where can you get help from?

The NHS website has a list of organisations that can offer help and support. These include:

They also offer some suggested tips to help you as you work to overcome your gambling addiction:

  • Make sure you have paid all your bills and essential expenses before you gamble.
  • Spend time and enjoy activities with family and friends who don’t gamble.
  • View gambling as purely entertainment and not a way to make money.
  • Don’t take credit cards with you when you go gambling.
  • Start to deal with any gambling-related debts. Our recent article Make 2022 the year when you get out of debt has some helpful information on how to go about this.

 

We hope that the above information helps you to recognise whether you have a gambling problem, and advises where to go for help if you need to.

If your finances have been severely affected by gambling, remember that a Loans2Go emergency loan may be able to help.

For more lifestyle and financial tips check back here with us soon at Loans 2 Go.