Gambling has recently been pushed into the spotlight with Michael Jordan’s son tweeting about losing $35,000 in one night. With the stress of being an athlete he is already more likely than his peers to struggle with gambling addiction. Michael Jordan’s son (and you!) are part of a generation growing up in a world where gambling is socially acceptable. Gambling is so intertwined in pop culture, it even made an appearance in the hit movie Toy Story 3 and the short film preceding the blockbuster! Luckily there are shows like A&E’s Intervention and MTV’s True Life to depict the some of the awful realities of the compulsive gambler. Hitting it big and living easy seems to be a widespread goal, but pursuing this fantasy is not worth the risk. Those addicted to gambling are up to 20x more likely to commit suicide so, especially as a teen, you’re betting on more than your money.
If you or someone you know has an addiction (don’t count anyone out- everyone is at risk!) he or she may lie to cover up how much money or time is spent gambling, miss important events to gamble, use gambling jargon frequently, try to win back money from previous losses or perhaps express a desire to quit or cut back on gambling.
With National Problem Gambling Awareness Week upon us, remember to play for fun, not for money. It’s just a game. Don’t let it become more.
For more information or confidential help call 1-800-522-4700.
Information shared by the National Council on Problem Gambling for Problem Gambling Awareness Week.