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How to Spot the Signs of Gambling Addiction in Millennials

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How to Spot the Signs of Gambling Addiction in Millennials

When millennials think of gaming, gambling isn’t what comes to mind. Millennials are the first generation raised on video games, making their ideas of gaming as entertainment different than the generations before. However, that doesn’t mean that gambling addictions can’t grab hold of the youngest potential gamblers available; it just means that it is different.

Since millennials associated gaming with skills, they might not be attracted to some of the traditional games of chance, like slot machines or bingo. Instead, millennials may favor games of skill.

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For example, fantasy sports betting is particularly attractive to millennials.[1] It involves a mix of statistical analysis and luck, instead of being a game of pure chance. The perception of skill being a primary factor pulls millennials into the idea. The attraction also exists between millennials and online poker. Often, the idea that pure chance isn’t involved can make it feel less like pure gambling by providing a sense of control, even if that control is essentially an illusion.

The Draw

While new players may not have a high likelihood of winning, even one or two favorable experiences can have them coming back for more. In some cases, chasing that next win draws millennials into a cycle of gambling, which can come with dire consequences.

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It’s the prospect of winning that captures most players that eventually become addicted. The idea of winning enough to solve a major financial problem leads them to invest more money into the activity. Over time, this can make the problem worse than it was prior to their introduction to gambling. Additionally, even if a big win happens, they often put those winnings back into gambling in hopes of bringing in even more.

The thrill of winning is also hard to ignore. The brain produces certain feel-good chemicals when a gambler just imagines a win, which can lead to an irrational interpretation of their chances. If a win does occur, the feeling is so positive that it alone can bring some people back for more, even if the likelihood of another win is only slightly likely.

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3 Signs of Addiction

There are a range of signs that suggests someone may be suffering from a gambling addiction. One person may not exhibit all symptoms, so it is important to consider these guidelines over strict rules.

Obsession

Gambling addicts find the pull of the activity impossible to ignore. It will become a priority and their thoughts will be overrun. Often, the obsession damages other areas of their life and the person may be unable to walk away from the activity even if they claim it is only a hobby.

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Ignoring the Consequences

Since most gamblers lose far more than they win, there are often severe financial consequences once the hobby becomes an addiction. They may use their paycheck and savings on gambling instead of paying bills. Some may resort to stealing, fraud, or other criminal activity in an attempt to get the needed funds. All of these actions are serious and can indicate a person is addicted.

Hiding the Behavior

As a person begins to spend more of their time, money, and energy directed at gambling, it will be noticed by close friends and family. If they disapprove or question the amount of gambling the person may be participating in, the addict may choose to hide their behavior instead of facing additional scrutiny. This act of deception suggests the problem may be more severe than the gambler realizes.

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It is important to realize the risks of gambling and to spot the signs of a developing addiction. Luckily, help is available to those who need it, such as the services offered through Gamblers Anonymous. If you or someone you know may have problems with gambling, or exhibit any of the signs above, seek help from a professional as soon as possible.

Reference

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/nealegodfrey/2015/10/11/millennials-new-drug-of-choice-fantasy-football/#e453b381e3b9

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