Many mental health professionals have developed criteria for determining problem gambling. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a standard reference for diagnosing psychological problems. Gambling Disorder is listed among several other addictive behaviors. The criteria outlined below describe the characteristics of someone with gambling problems. A Gambler has made repeated unsuccessful attempts to curb gambling. The Gambler is also suffering from depression, anxiety, and/or a weakened control of impulses.
A variety of Protestant denominations oppose gambling. The Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Lutheran Confession, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Assemblies of God all prohibit gambling. Other denominations, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, disapprove of it. However, it is legal for a charitable organization to offer games of chance, such as bingo and raffles. The Gambling Control Board must approve such organizations before they can begin to operate.
Although many jurisdictions prohibit gambling, others heavily regulate it. This control often results in gambling tourism. This often leads to illegal gambling in areas that are not permitted. Government involvement has forged close ties between gambling organizations and governments. The government benefits from legal gambling as well, providing substantial revenue to public funds. However, there are no guarantees that a gambling addict will not develop a gambling problem. Therefore, there is a need for treatment for gambling addiction.
Family members, friends, and financial advisers can support a problem gambler in overcoming the compulsion to gamble. They should also encourage the gambler to seek help to overcome their problem. Family members should take the gambler’s threats of suicide seriously. Even if it’s not the gambling problem itself, family and friends can encourage and support him or her to stop gambling. It is important to remember that the first responsibility of a family member is to maintain safety.