March Madness & Problem Gambling [Infographic]

For many people, March Madness is a time to enjoy friendly bets with family, friends, and coworkers. However, for some it can be a catalyst for problem gambling behavior, which can have a significant impact on school, work, and relationships.

If a person currently struggles with gambling addiction or is at risk for the condition, the annual NCAA tournament can create a path toward continued or deepening gambling problems.

Problem gambling isn’t a money issue. It’s a diagnosable and treatable condition in which a person is no longer able to make reasonable choices about betting. Like other addictions, it’s been linked to changes in the brain that affect decision-making abilities.

Signs of Problem Gambling
  • You find yourself lying or acting evasively about money.
  • You neglect responsibilities, like work or school, for gambling.
  • You have mood swings that depend on whether you’re winning or losing.
  • You have arguments with family or friends about money.
  • You’ve borrowed money to gamble or to pay for necessities because you lost money betting.
  • You’ve borrowed money without permission—even though you may intend to pay it back.
  • You’ve taken money out of dedicated accounts, like retirement funds or life insurance, to gamble.
  • You delay or avoid necessary purchases, like groceries or medicine, because you’d rather use your money to place bets.

This gambling infographic from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Rochester Area shares facts and stats about sports betting and March Madness.

 

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    Military Members May Be At Risk for Problem Gambling

    The U.S. military may not be doing everything it can to diagnose gambling disorder, suggests the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

    The report, which based its findings on Department of Defense (DOD) data, said the military has only diagnosed about .03% of its service members with the disorder each year. The GAO noted that the DOD doesn’t specifically target gambling abuse for screening, which means service members with the condition may be likely to go undiagnosed.

    The GAO offered several recommendations, including the addition of problem gambling questions to the military’s screening processes. However, the DOD rejected that recommendation, arguing that it was “impractical to screen for every low prevalence disorder.”

    It’s worth noting the DOD currently operates 3,141 slot machines—1,159 of which are on Japanese bases. The machines generated nearly $539 million in revenue from 2011 to 2015.

    What We Know About Problem Gambling & Military Veterans

    Previous research suggests problem gambling is an issue that impacts active-duty and retired veterans. For example, nearly 10% of U.S. vets struggle with disordered gambling, a rate that’s 2-3 times higher than that of the general population. In addition, about 17% of veterans with PTSD show symptoms of problematic gambling.

    Researchers have also found that military experiences and post-deployment stress are associated with higher problem gambling rates among American veterans.

    What to Do When a Service Member or Retired Veteran Gambles Too Much

    Gambling becomes a problem when it has a negative impact on life. That impact can take the form of money arguments with a partner, lack of money to pay for necessities, or losing track of time while gambling. A problem gambler might seemingly gamble all the time or they might gamble in binges.

    Take the quiz to find out if you or someone you love is at risk.

    Veterans can find help by contacting their VA medical center or clinic. Make the Connection, by the Department of Veterans Affairs, also shares mental well-being resources for active-duty or retired service members.

    For Lancaster or Lebanon resources, call the Compass Mark team at 717-299-2831.

     

     

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      Life Events May Spark Problem Gambling Behavior [Research]

      Life events, like retirement and job loss, may increase problem gambling behavior, according to a recent gambling study.

      The researchers conducted three phone interviews, each one year apart, with 250 Canadian adults. During the calls, researchers asked participants about life events that had occurred in the previous 12 months.

      The results suggest that these factors increase Problem Gambling Severity Index  (PGSI) scores. Retirement was the strongest predictor of a rise in problematic gambling behavior. This was followed by job loss and having difficulties with a boss.

      It’s worth noting that none of the life events predicted a decrease in PGSI scores.

      How might these findings help professionals prevent & treat gambling addiction?

      As noted in the review of this study by Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report (WAGER), the results suggest that counselors, healthcare professionals, and others can be on the alert for changes in patients experiencing life events.

      The research also suggests that the trigger event doesn’t necessarily need to appear negative or significant. For example, many people view retirement, the primary trigger in this study, as a positive life transition. Consider also that having trouble with a boss may not, on the surface, seem like a problem so significant that it can increase addictive behavior.

      March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

      Problem gambling is a serious condition that often flies under the radar. Unlike the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, it rarely manifests itself in apparent physical symptoms.

      If you’re a counselor, educator, or health professional, Problem Gambling Awareness Month is the perfect time to learn more about this diagnosable–and treatable–condition so you can better help the people you serve. Check out these resources:

      Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2017-Stats and Facts

      Some Gamblers Self-Medicate with Mobile/Computer Casino Games [Research]

      Parkinson’s Meds Linked to Higher Risk of Problem Gambling [Research]

      Men Who Gamble More Prone to Violent Behavior [Research]

      Problem Gambling Resources for Health Care Professionals

      If you’d like additional information on gambling addiction prevention and treatment resources in Lancaster County, PA and Lebanon County, PA, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.

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        Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2017- Stats and Facts

        March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

        Gambling addiction is a serious condition with roots in the brain. Biologically, it has much in common with addictions to alcohol and other drugs. Anyone can struggle with it, no matter their gender, age, financial status, or ethnic background. As many as 6 million Americans live with the symptoms–and millions more are left to cope as they watch the condition destroy someone they love.

        To learn how gambling addiction has an impact on so many lives, check out Real Stories of Recovery and Awareness from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).

        The NCPG also shared this gambling infographic with statistics and other information about gambling in America.

        Compass Mark helps individuals, families, educators, therapists, and other concerned professionals find the resources to deal with compulsive gambling. For prevention and education resources, treatment referrals, and intervention information in Lancaster County or Lebanon County, contact our team at 717-299-2831 or use our online Gambling Help form. Our guidance is confidential and judgment free.

         

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          March Madness Will Cost Employers $2.1 Billion in 2017 [Gambling in the News]

          March Madness will generate an estimated $2.1 billion loss for employers in 2017. In addition, experts say that nearly 24 million American workers will spend company time researching and choosing their tournament brackets this year.

          The projections, made by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, are higher than workplace losses in previous years. In 2015, the same analysis predicted losses of about $1.9 billion for employers.

          These productivity losses are huge, but the fact is that problem gambling can have a significant, lasting impact on workplaces. Problem gambling is a condition in which a person can no longer control their betting behavior. It affects an estimated 4-6 million Americans from all genders, ages, and ethnicities. This diagnosable condition is associated with a range of activities, including sports betting (like March Madness), casino games, horse racing, online games, mobile apps, and lotteries.

          Some addicted gamblers wager every day; others go on periodic binges. Yet no matter what form gambling addiction takes, it has the same emotional, financial, and even physical impact. When a worker struggles with the condition, it can also expose employers to the risk of gambling-related fraud.

          Signs of Problem Gambling in the Workplace

          • Increasing tardiness or absenteeism
          • Decline in productivity
          • Asking for pay advances or for pay in lieu of vacation/sick time
          • Losing track of time over lunch or other allotted breaks
          • Borrowing money from coworkers
          • Receiving personal credit card statements or bills at work
          • Declining personal appearance or grooming habits
          • Preoccupation with gambling

          Learn more in Problem Gambling: 4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses and Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions.

          Find additional resources for gambling prevention, education, and treatment referrals in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA by contacting Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.

           

           

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            Gamblers “In the Zone” at Higher Risk for Problem Gambling [Research]

            Gamblers who describe being “in a zone” while playing slot machines are more likely to be at risk for gambling problems, according to new research by the University of British Columbia (UBC).

            The study involved participants playing a real slot machine placed in a lab. Panels positioned on each side of the machine displayed changing shapes. Participants were asked to press a button every time they noticed that a white circle on the panels changed into a red square. Researchers also measured participants’ heart rates and asked them questions about their gambling.

            The study, which was recently published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, discovered that players with higher levels of immersion, such as feeling like they were in a trance or losing track of time, were at higher risk for developing gambling addiction. Additionally, the researchers found that higher-risk gamblers were also more likely to miss the changing shapes on the panels next to the slot machine.

            The study notes that slot machines, a popular form of gambling worldwide, are consistently linked to addictive betting behavior. Luke Clark, senior author and director of the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC, said that the findings suggested the potential for a slot machine modification or new features that would promote responsible gambling.

            Gambling Resources in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA

            If you are a health care or education professional in Lancaster or Lebanon who would like additional problem gambling resources that help you better serve your clients or students, call Compass Mark at 717-299-2831. Also visit:

            Gambling Addiction Resources
            Treatment Providers in Lancaster, Lebanon, and the Surrounding Area
            Gambling Addiction Treatment Blog

             

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              What to Do if Someone You Love is a Problem Gambler

              Finding help for someone with addiction typically isn’t something we learned in school. So what should you do if you know someone struggling to control their gambling behavior? Here’s what to do if a person you love has a gambling problem.

              Learn more about the condition.

              Gambling addiction is an actual disorder rooted in the brain—it’s not a matter of having “no willpower” or being a “bad” person. Numerous studies have found that people with problem gambling have some brain dysfunctions similar to those with drug addiction. For example, problem gamblers and substance abusers both show weakened brain pathways that play a role in impulse control and decision making.

              To learn if your loved one is at risk for gambling addiction, take the quiz on our home page.

              Understand that the gambler will need professional help to stop. 

              This is a progressive disorder, which means that if not treated, it worsens over time. That progression time frame is different for everyone; however some evidence suggests women may transition to gambling addiction faster than men.

              As the addiction takes hold, problem gamblers may spiral into despair because of their circumstances, which often stay hidden from others until the situation becomes overwhelming. This increases the risk for developing clinical depression or attempting suicide.

              Since the condition worsens, it’s critical that the problem gambler seek help sooner rather than later. This is especially true for senior gamblers; they have less time to recover financially from the economic toll this addiction takes.

              Long-term recovery from gambling addiction is often supported with a combination of treatments, including talk therapy, lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, and self-help groups, like Gamblers Anonymous.

              Take control of your own finances.

              If your money is linked to the problem gambler’s finances, take steps to separate accounts so the gambler cannot access the money you need to provide for yourself and your family. In addition to opening a separate—sole—checking or savings account, take your name off shared credit card accounts. Don’t give the problem gambler any access to the new accounts you open (i.e. no debit cards, PINs, or checks).

              Seek professional help for yourself and other loved ones.

              Like all addictions, problem gambling impacts the entire family—and not just from a financial standpoint. Excessive gambling behavior fractures the trust needed to have healthy relationships with a spouse, children, parents, and siblings.

              Regardless of whether your loved one seeks treatment, you and other family members should take steps to heal your own emotional well-being. Talk with a therapist to find out how counseling can help you and others cope with the situation in a healthy way. Also, check out Gam-Anon, a group that provides support to the loved ones of problem gamblers.

              For confidential guidance or referrals in Lancaster County, PA or Lebanon County, PA, contact the caring team at Compass Mark. Call 717-299-2831 or use our Gambling Help Form.

               

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                Some Gamblers Self-Medicate with Mobile/Computer Casino Games [Research]

                Almost half of people at risk for gambling problems turn to social casino-type games on mobile devices or computers to cope with negative feelings, according to a study from Southern Cross University.

                The study, which was reviewed by the Worldwide Addiction Gambling Education Report (WAGER), revealed that nearly half its sample played social casino games, like poker and gaming machines, to escape from problems or relieve a negative mood. Participants also reported unsuccessful attempts to stop or reduce playing, preoccupation with the games, withdrawal, and negative impacts.

                Researchers and health care providers, including problem gambling therapists, have long understood that people who struggle with unhealthy gambling behavior sometimes use wagering as a form of self-medication. This research extends that idea to at-risk gamblers playing on mobile devices or computers.

                The study doesn’t provide evidence that social casino games trigger traditional gambling, or vice versa. However, it does suggest that health care providers, such as mental health counselors, should be alert to problem gamblers turning to these games to self-medicate gambling urges.

                In addition, health care providers should know that previous research has uncovered that people who play practice or no-money games are more likely to bet in higher amounts when they play for real money later. This could be because gambling app practice modes may generate confidence in skill level—a false sense considering that, ultimately, the house always wins. What’s more, there’s evidence that “payouts” for many practice or no-money games are higher than those in real money games, adding to that false sense of confidence.

                Gambling Addiction Resources for Health Care Professionals

                If you’re a health care provider or other concerned professional, visit Gambling Resources for more information. Are you in the Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA area? Call Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 to learn more about our gambling awareness and prevention programs or to get a treatment referral.

                 

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                  Super Bowl Gambling Predicted to Near $50 Billion in Bets – Will You Lose to Problem Gambling?

                  The upcoming Super Bowl is expected to generate $4.7 billion in bets, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). The vast majority of those wagers will be illegal.

                  It’s estimated a whopping 97% of bets placed on the big game will take place illegally in office pools, between friends, and through offshore gambling operations, according to the AGA. Check out its Super Bowl gambling infographic:

                   

                  Many people placing bets will be able to do so without harming themselves or inflicting negative consequences on friends or family. However, for some, sports betting can lead to problem gambling, a recognized condition in which a person can no longer make reasonable decisions about wagering. Gambling in at-risk people triggers some of the same brain regions as in those who abuse substances.

                  Problem gamblers may:

                  • Gamble away paychecks;
                  • Become unable to pay for living expenses, like rent, food, or prescriptions;
                  • Call in sick or tardy in order to gamble;
                  • Borrow, steal, or commit crimes like fraud to fund their behavior;
                  • Become more vulnerable to alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide.
                  Don’t let sports betting bring you or a loved one down.

                  If wagering on the Super Bowl or other sporting events is causing anxiety or if it’s causing problems in your relationships, seek help. Gambling addiction is treatable, often with a combination of talk therapy, self-help groups, and lifestyle changes.

                  The Lancaster and Lebanon areas offer a number of counselors trained specifically to work with those addicted to gambling. See our list of Treatment Providers or contact Compass Mark for confidential guidance. You can also assess your risk (or that of a loved one) by taking the simple gambling assessment quiz on our home page.

                  To learn more about sports gambling and addiction, check out:

                  Tips to Resist the Urge to Gamble on the Super Bowl
                  Gambling Addiction: Taking the Fantasy Out of Fantasy Football
                  Fantasy Football: Priming Kids for Problem Gambling?

                   

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                    Are You Ready to Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud in Your Biz?

                    An Oregon bookkeeper recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $70,000 from her employers–money she then used to gamble.

                    The woman was sentenced to five years in prison, according to OregonLive. The theft started during her first month of employment and continued for about a year. She had prior theft convictions listed under a different last name.

                    How Can Employers Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud?

                    Gambling addiction is a condition with roots in biology. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status. People who struggle with the disorder need professional treatment from counselors trained to work with this addiction.

                    Employers can take action to protect their businesses by enacting safeguards to prevent gambling-related fraud or at least catch it before it does significant damage. Here’s how to protect your bottom line:

                    Never give one employee sole charge of the company finances.

                    It can be easier to steal when an addicted gambler knows that no one is checking the books. Always use at least two people to handle company finances. If you can only afford to hire one person, conduct regular, unannounced internal audits to make sure the books are in order.

                    Divide check writing and check signing powers.

                    Another way to reduce gambling-related fraud risk is to assign one person the task of writing the checks and another the task of signing them. This checks-and-balance system may prevent fraud or catch it early.

                    Learn to recognize problem gambling warning signs.

                    If you see an employee exhibiting these warning signs, refer him or her to human resources or an employee assistance program (EAP):

                    • Asking for payday advances;
                    • Asking for pay in lieu of vacation time or sick days;
                    • Frequently organizing office pools;
                    • Unusual insistence on taking work home;
                    • Increasing absences or tardiness;
                    • Sudden lifestyle changes, such as buying pricey cars or taking expensive vacations;
                    • Arguing with coworkers, friends, or family about money;
                    • Borrowing money from coworkers.

                    For prevention resources in Lancaster or Lebanon, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.

                     

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