By Jimmy Sturo
Casinos are exciting places to visit. Most of us have seen various shows on TV about the world of gambling. Las Vegas has become synonymous with casinos and gambling. The glitzy lights, glamorous atmosphere, the idea of winning a packet of money, and above all, the sheer action and excitement is a dream come true for any gambler.
Unfortunately, this dream can often become the gambler’s worst nightmare. The adrenaline rush and the thrilling “high” that gamblers experience when they risk their money on games are extremely addictive.
Addiction to gambling is similar to any other addiction. The adrenaline rush and the “high” slowly give way to a seductive, alluring feeling which makes a few gamblers take a plunge into the darker side of this entertaining game. This plunge can truly have some devastating consequences.
Addiction to gambling happens when the player crosses that fine line between playing for entertainment and playing for the “high” feelings associated with gambling. Once a player starts playing for the “high”, chances are he or she is an addict. Some gamblers are so addicted that they don’t even care if they lose, so long as they have a piece of the action.
This unquenchable thirst for some gambling action can ultimately be destructive not only for the players, but for their families as well.
Gambling is an example of extremely poor money management that can ruin lives and families. Divorce rates, spouse and child abuse, suicide, homelessness, and many other such ills are higher in families where there are gambling addicts.
As an example, let’s take a look at the effects gambling has on children. Children of compulsive gamblers, often called “casino kids,” have sometimes been left at the outer rim of the casinos for hours while their parents gamble inside. In extreme cases, some children have even been left in the car for several hours while their parents are busy gambling. Leaving the children with babysitters while the parents make a round of the various casinos, card rooms, and bingo rooms is also pretty common.
Imagine the effect of this physical and emotional neglect on the minds of young children! Children are often the first target of abuse either by the gambler or by a person dependant on the gambler. This devastating abuse often goes unnoticed because the children suffer in silence.
Fortunately, there are quite a few places from where one can get help. Gamblers Anonymous is a great place where lots of gamblers have been rehabilitated and lead clean lives, free of the addiction that once afflicted them directly, and their families indirectly.
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