The First Step to Treating a Gambling AddictionJune 25, 2020
Gambling today is all around us. From the local lottery to football pools at work, gambling has become as much a part of our lives as shopping or eating with the family. But for millions of teens it may develop into so much more than the occasional bet with friends.
It can become an obsession, a way of life. The problem of gambling compulsively is a crippling illness that can destroy families, friends, jobs, and lives. Many history books specializing in the study of the legal aspects of gambling, argue that gambling in the United States has gone through three historical phases. Gambling thrived during the colonial and post revolutionary periods. Governments supported and encouraged lotteries.
Lotteries however were not the only type of gambling during this time. Wagering on horse racing was another popular form of gambling. Racing though was not quite as organized or as complex as modern day horse racing. Instead the gambling was only between a few owners of horses and their partisans. The first racetrack in the United States was built in Long Island, New York in 1665. With the end of Jacksonian morality, came the end of the first phase, gambling scandals and outright fraud caused the ban of lotteries and gambling. By 1862, all states expect Kentucky and Missouri outlawed lotteries. The second phase began after the civil war.
Southern states that were desperate for revenue turned to lotteries. New laws were enacted legalizing gambling houses so that states could collect taxes บาคาร่า on them. As gambling moved west it became more pervasive, and laws were much more difficult to enforce. In the 1890s scandals in the Louisiana lottery resulted in new anti-lottery laws. Legislation banning lotteries in many states soon followed, some were even written into the State Constitution.
The second wave of legal gambling was short-lived. Scandals and the rise of Victorian morality led to the end of legal gambling. Virtually all forms of gambling were prohibited in the United States by 1910. There was legal betting in only 3 states, which allowed horse racing, but even that number shrank in years following. The thoughts about gambling ran so strong that Arizona and New Mexico were required to outlaw casinos to gain statehood.
The prohibition however did not stop gambling. There were many types of illegal gambling houses. Some operated openly for many years, but had to pay protection money to the law enforcement authorities for this privilege. The third and present phase began during the great depression of the 1930’s. The great depression led to a much greater legalization of gambling.
Let’s start with a definition. What is gambling? Gambling is betting on something that may or may not happen in the future. When we gamble, we take a risk, choose an uncertain outcome, and bet on it. Gamblers bet on casino games, horse racing, and sports where the result can’t be predicted with certainty. Some people will bet on anything. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer bet on the arrival and departure times of airplanes at a New York City airport?
How is gambling different from buying stocks and bonds? Stocks and bonds are considered investments and not gambles because we can reasonably expect to come out ahead in the long run. They may be risky but not in the same sense as gambling.
How is gambling different from buying insurance? When we buy insurance, we are betting on something that may or may not happen in the future. We don’t want to take the risk that it will happen, so we pay someone else (the insurance company) to take the risk for us. When we buy homeowner’s insurance, for example, we are betting our house will burn down and the insurance company is betting it won’t. (Of course we hope we won’t win this bet.) This isn’t gambling because the risk can be calculated. The insurance company uses all kinds of statistics to analyze the probability of our house burning down and fixes the premium we will pay accordingly.
People have gambled since ancient times. However, society never approved of it because it was labeled an attempt to get money without working for it. Society believed that hard work should pave the way to financial success. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that states (except for Nevada which had legalized all forms of gambling earlier) started to run lotteries to raise money for worthwhile causes.
So why do we gamble even though we are unlikely to win in the long run? We gamble for the excitement of the uncertain outcome. Some gamble to try to make their financial dreams come true. Some people gamble for entertainment or enjoyment, such as a night out with friends at the casino or a bingo game for a charitable organization or a lottery ticket. Some think they can beat the odds and make a living out of gambling. There are people who gamble because they simply love the challenge. They look at gambling as a game of skill or problem solving and they are sure they can win. Some like the environment or the thrill of a possible big win, or the adrenaline rush of taking a chance. Casinos allow us to socialize and pass some time. There are no clocks in a casino; we lose track of time; we forget all our troubles. It’s like a therapy session! If we are timid, we can go to a casino and boldly take chances.
Occasional gambling may be a relaxing form of entertainment but be careful not to get addicted. Addiction may lead to obsession. You may lose control and become so fanatical that you can ruin you life or suffer other catastrophic consequences. So if you gamble, be sure to set limits and keep to the limits you have set.