Government of New Brunswick

How does gambling become a problem? You’ve heard the expression “It’s only a game”. When you start spending more time and money gambling than you should, a game stops being just a game. It starts to become a problem.

Gambling can be identified under different forms such as: bingo, cards for money, lotteries (lotto 6/49, Atlantic Choice, etc), scratch and win or pull-tab tickets, video lottery terminals (VLTs), slot machines and other games at the casino, sports betting, race track betting and high-risk stocks.

Time spent 

  • Do you often spend more time gambling than you intended to?
  • Do you often find yourself thinking about gambling when you are doing something else?   
  • Do you often find yourself thinking about gambling when you are doing something else?  
  • Have you dropped hobbies or activities that you used to enjoy because you now spend that time gambling?    

Money spent

  • Do you sometimes have trouble sticking to a spending limit when you are gambling?
  • Do you ever gamble with money intented for other things?
  • Do you sometimes borrow money so that you can keep gambling
  • Have you ever asked family or friends to help you out with gambling debts?

Responsibilities to others

  • Has your gambling ever put a strain on your home life?
  • Have you ever missed an important family occasion because you were gambling?   
  • Have you ever missed school or work because you were gambling?   
  • Do your friends or family complain about your gambling?

Moods and mental states

  • Do you ever feel guilty about your gambling? 
  • Do you feel anxious, restless, or irritable when you can’t gamble
  • Does your gambling produce mood swings - high when winning, depressed when losing?   

Self-control

  • Do you find it difficult to walk away from the game, even when you know you should?
  • Do you sometimes keep gambling in an effort to win back money you’ve lost?
  • Do you become absorbed and lose track of yourself and everything around you while playing? 

Desperate behaviour

  • Have you ever lied about your gambling? 
  • Have you ever written a bad cheque, stolen money, or broken the law in other ways because you were desperate to keep gambling or pay your debts?

If you answered no to all of these questions, you probably don’t have a gambling problem. But stay on the alert. Re-assess the situation if you see any of these tendencies starting to appear in your gambling behaviour.

If you answered yes to even one question you could have a problem, or at least a potential problem. It may be time to do something about it - before you can answer yes more often.