The Big Game is coming, and you can probably imagine how many different ways there are to bet on it—from the final score, to the likelihood of a wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show, to the color of Gatorade that will be dumped on the winning coach at the end of the game.
The National Council on Problem Gambling says that this weekend can be especially stressful for those who are either in recovery from gambling addiction or would like to gamble responsibly. The Council’s Recovery Committee recommends the following:
- Remember that gambling is a form of entertainment, not a job
- Don’t get caught up in the hype and bet beyond your means
- Don’t mix alcohol with gambling, as it may reduce inhibitions
Gambling during this particular weekend is at epic levels—billions of dollars are expected to be bet illegally, and those who gamble illegally are more likely to develop problems. Between six and eight million adults in the U.S. are at risk for gambling disorders and may show signs, such as:
- Spending income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling
- Fighting about gambling behavior with loved ones
- Feeling depressed or suicidal because of gambling losses
If you are at high risk for gambling addiction, the Big Game can make you especially vulnerable, so the best strategy may be to not watch the game at all. It could be a perfect time, instead, to go to a movie with a friend, spend time with family and friends who don’t watch the game, or find healthy ways to keep yourself busy and distracted. If you are a loved one, family member, or friend of a problem gambler, you can also be distressed as you observe a gambler’s irrational thoughts and behaviors and wonder what you can do to help.
If you or someone you love is at risk for problem gambling, help is available. Call 1-800-589-9966 or for available resources in your area, please click here.