Legalized gambling is betting something of monetary value on a game or an event that has an unknown outcome with the intention of winning more than the initial bet (wager). Gaming advocates say responsible gaming increases job opportunities, state revenue, and gambling tourism. However, legalized gambling opponents are concerned with the increase of problem gambling in the state of New Mexico and throughout the nation. (The New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling (NMCPG) maintains a neutral perspective on legalized gambling.)
Problem gambling (a.k.a. compulsive gambling, pathological gambling, disordered gambling, etc.) is the persistent desire to gamble more money more often within a year despite negative consequences and such distress associated with financial problems. In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Ed. (DSM-5) renamed pathological gambling as a gambling disorder in the “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders” category if the individual demonstrates four or more of the following within one year:
- Wants to gamble with more money each time in order to obtain the desired outcome;
- Becomes short-tempered when trying to stop or decrease gambling;
- Repeats unsuccessful attempts to control, decrease, and / or stop gambling;
- Fantasizes about past winnings, future winnings, and / or creative ways to get more gambling money;
- Gambles to numb feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and / or depression;
- Returns to gaming establishment after losing to win back lost income (“chasing loses”);
- Lies to hide the amount of gambling he / she does;
- Compromises valuable relationships, jobs, and / or educational goals for gambling;
- Borrows money from risky sources (i.e. Payday loans) to fund gambling habit; or
- Needs to obtain money from another source to avoid default on financial responsibilities.
Who Can Become Addicted to Gambling?
Anyone who gambles can become addicted to gambling. However, research proves that some individuals are more susceptible to developing a gambling problem, such as people with a family history in problem gambling, those that suffer from substance abuse, and /or individuals with behavioral health concerns. If you want to learn more about gambling problems, please visit the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5.