Gambling

Gambling

Some Nunavummiut gamble and don’t seem able to stop.  A few become addicted to gambling. It takes over and damages their lives and their families.

Whether it is lottery tickets, poker, online gambling or day trading, a gambling addiction is a serious problem that has harmful financial and emotional consequences – no matter whether the gambler wins or loses.

Individuals who know someone with a gambling addiction wish that they could simply tell them to quit, but it is not that simple.  If it was that easy for them to quit they would do it instead of suffering and enduring all the financial, emotional and other problems that this type of addiction can cause.  

If gambling is no longer a casual social activity for you but rather a way of life that lets you escape from reality or achieve an adrenaline high, then you need help.

Impacts

Compulsive gambling hurts not just the gambler but everyone who is part of his or her life.  Money that was supposed to be used for food and family expenses is spent on lottery tickets, cards, bingos, and other gambling games.

With a compulsive gambler the family, and others close to the compulsive gambler, lose out in lots of ways.  But the gambler is often the biggest loser.  They not only lose money or possessions but they also lose self-respect, feel guilty, become depressed and may even consider suicide as a way out of their gambling addiction.

Individuals who know someone with a gambling addiction wish that they could just tell them to quit. But by telling a gambling addict to just stop they will think that you don’t understand their problem and you will lose their trust.  

Treatment/Help

When trying to help someone beat their gambling addiction you should never offer a financial loan that can be misused and continue to support a gambling addiction.  A compulsive gambler will often show extreme creativity in making up stories as to why they need you to help them financially.  But giving them money would only be enabling them and not helping them.  One of the ways to help an individual with an addiction to gambling is to force them to deal with the negative results of their gambling – which can be unpaid loans and large credit card debts.  But that also means not helping them financially no matter how much they ask.

If gambling has stopped being a fun, social activity and has become something you, or someone you know, can’t stop (no matter what) – then outside help is needed.  The Government of Nunavut offers hope and support to addicted gamblers through counseling and other services that can be accessed through your community health centre.