What is moderate risk gambling?
Gambling Addictions can effect anyone.
There is increasing recognition that gambling problems follow a scale, ranging from no gambling related problems to those with minor problems, to those experiencing severe problems.
Moderate risk gambling refers to a level of gambling involvement that is starting to have a negative impact on the gambler and/or their family. At this point, the gambler or a family member may have some thoughts or feelings that begin to question the level of gambling involvement. The answer may not be obvious, as the consequences are not yet as dire as what is typically portrayed: loss of a home, job or family breakdown.
Early warning signs that may indicate an individual is moving from moderate risk to problem gambling include: thoughts that you may have a gambling problem, feelings of guilt, trying to win money already lost or criticism by others about your level of gambling involvement.
What we know about moderate risk gamblers
Moderate risk gamblers are significantly more likely to be male than female.
The majority of moderate risk gamblers (about 60%) are under age 39.
Approximately 30% of moderate risk gamblers have either graduated from university or have completed some university.
One-quarter of moderate risk gamblers report health problems including stress and anxiety related to their gambling.
Fourteen percent of moderate risk gamblers report having contemplated suicide.
Other than financial problems, moderate-risk gamblers report few household impacts as a result of their gambling.
Moderate risk gamblers identified their number one reason for gambling was to win money (30%), 26% cited entertainment/fun and almost 9% believed some kind of system could help them win.
What is problem gambling
Problem gambling is not only about people with severe problems or those needing counselling help. Problem gambling should be seen on a continuum with some people having moderate problems and other having more severe problems.
Problem gambling has many impacts – such as relationship breakdown, financial problems and crime. Problem gamblers often share common characteristics such as ‘chasing losses’, lying about their gambling and lack of control.
There are several definitions of problem gambling. These include:
Problem gambling encompasses all the patterns of gambling behaviour that comprise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits
Problem gambling is defined as a chronic failure to resist gambling impulses that results in disruption or damage to several areas of a person’s social, vocational familial or financial functioning
Problem gambling may be characterized by a loss of control over gambling, especially over the scope and frequency of gambling, the level of wagering and the amount of leisure time devoted to gambling, and the negative consequences deriving from the loss of control
Knowing where the fun ends and trouble begins varies with each person. It depends on individual circumstances. For example, money spent gambling may not be the best indicator. Some people have thousands of dollars of disposable income while others cannot afford to play a game of bingo. A more accurate predictor of problem gambling may be the individual’s belief system around gambling, their expectations, and their gambling behaviour.
Gambling addictions are likely to develop when an individual:
cannot follow limits on time and money spent gambling;
misses work or other important events to gamble;
tries to win back money they have lost;
gambles to make money or believes there is a system to beat the odds;
is preoccupied with gambling or obtaining money to gamble; or
disregards the consequences of continued involvement in gambling.
Problem gambling refers to all gambling behaviour that:
adversely affects a person’s physical or psychological health;
impacts significant areas of their life such as employment, family relationships, financial stability, or;
contributes to a person’s involvement in illegal activities to finance gambling.
A significant number of people with problem gambling behaviours also have problems with substance abuse. Losses from gambling may lead to substance abuse as a coping strategy; alternatively, loss of inhibition through alcohol or drug use may reduce self-control while gambling.
To the gambler the emotional, financial or legal problems brought on by gambling can appear to be so severe that suicide looks like the only “way out” – the rate of suicide and attempted suicide is high among individuals with gambling problems. It is important for gamblers and family members experiencing problems to access treatment services as soon as possible.
How common is problem gambling?
According to a Problem Gambling Prevalence study, released in 2002, approximately 87% of adults participated in some form of gambling during the previous year.
13.4% are non-gamblers
71.4% are non-problem gamblers
9.3% are low-risk gamblers
4.7% are moderate risk gamblers and
1.2% are classified as problem gamblers.
What we know about problem gamblers
The profile of problem gamblers from the referenced study is consistent with other studies which indicates:
There is a slightly higher percentage of males than females.
The majority of problem gamblers are between the ages of 30-49 with the youngest age group (19-24 years) being the most likely to experience a gambling problem.
Approximately three-quarters of the problem gamblers report a high school or less level of education while 13% have some university classes.
Two-thirds of problem gamblers report having an annual household income of less than $40,000, however about 10% have a family income of $70,000 or more.
Problem gamblers engage in more gambling activities, gamble more frequently, gamble for a longer duration and spend more money than other gamblers.
Nearly 80% of problem gamblers report negative household impacts as a result of gambling, including getting into serious arguments, being separated or divorced, not paying utilities and not buying food.
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