14 Financial Warning Signs For Problem Gambling

Gambling addiction isn’t a money problem; yet money issues are often the first noticeable sign that gambling behavior has gone too far. Unlike substance abuse, there may be few physical red flags that indicate a person’s developing unhealthy gambling urges. Here are 14 financial warning signs to be on the lookout for:

1. Getting notices for overdue or unpaid bills;

2. Borrowing money from friends or family members;

3. Taking increasing control over family finances;

4. Making only minimum payments on large credit card bills;

5. Cashing out dedicated or reserved accounts, like retirement accounts, education funds, or universal life insurance policies;

6. Hiding or destroying statements for bank accounts or credit accounts;

7. Taking cash advances on credit cards or applying for numerous new credit cards;

8. Receiving calls from bill collectors;

9. Asking for pay in lieu of vacation or sick days;

10. Pawning household items or valuables, or selling them on sites like eBay or Craigslist;

11. Becoming secretive or evasive about money;

12. Spending increasing amounts of money gambling online or via gambling-like apps;

13. Finding unexplained or hidden cash in large amounts;

14. Lacking money even though income sources haven’t decreased.

Take the simple quiz on the SafeStakes home page to learn if you or someone you love is at risk for problem gambling.

What is Gambling Addiction?

It’s a diagnosable and treatable condition in which a person can no longer control the urge to wager. A person with compulsive gambling is at higher risk for substance abuse, depression, and suicide. Families with a problem gambler are also at higher risk for domestic violence and child abuse.

While the condition can develop in anyone, regardless of gender, age, or ethnic background, some factors may raise the risk, including:

  • Having a personal or family history of addiction;
  • Experiencing physical, emotional, or sexual trauma;
  • Going through a major life transition, like divorce, retirement, or the death of a loved one;
  • Having the first gambling experience at a young age;
  • Showing certain personality traits, like impulsiveness or high-level competitiveness;
  • Taking specific medications for Parkinson’s disease.

If you’re concerned about someone’s gambling behavior, we’ll point you to local help resources. Call the Compass Mark team at 717-299-2831 or fill out a Gambling Help Form for confidential, non-judgmental assistance. You can also view our list of Lancaster- and Lebanon-area gambling addiction Treatment Providers.


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