Playing bingo both online and at a club is fun, but for some people the fun can turn into a problem. Over the years we’ve seen several people end up in court to feed their bingo habit after stealing from their employers and others. These stories are rare, and what we don’t see is the non headline grabbing stories of spiralling debt, and the negative impact on family and friends once things get out of control.
Not everyone knows the warning signs, so for the benefit of our site visitors we’ve had a look at the National Bingo Game’s website for advice. The following is a guide to what to look out for in your own, or others’ behaviour. Please note that we are sticking to the term ‘gambling’ rather than playing bingo, because that is exactly what it is (even if it may be considered gambling with a small ‘g’).
Have you lied, stolen or borrowed just to get money to gamble or pay gambling debts? Remember, never to to play with more than you can afford to lose.
Do you feel depressed or even suicidal because of your gambling? This is a major warning sign.
Do you stay away from work or college to gamble? A classic sign of addiction.
After losing, do you feel you must try and win back your losses as soon as possible? This is an easy mistake to make.
Do you gamble to escape from a boring or unhappy life? There’s more to life than a punt, take up a new hobby or sport.
When gambling and you run out of money, do you feel lost and in despair, and need to gamble again as soon as possible? Another classic indicator.
Do you gamble until your last penny is gone, even the bus fare home or the cost of a cup of tea? Know your monetary limitations, plan, and stick to your plan.
Have you ever lied to cover up the amount of money or time you have gambled? Denial.
Have others ever criticised your gambling? If you’re lying to yourself about your habit hopefully others may ram the message home.
Are you reluctant to spend ‘gambling money’ on anything else? It’s better to give than receive, prove you’re not hooked by treating someone who deserves it.
Have you lost interest in your family, friends or interests? Don’t let gambling become your God.
Do arguments, frustrations or disappointments make you want to gamble? It’s not the solution.
If you suffer from any of the above, or know someone who does, then it’s time for action. There is plenty of help out there, and making a simple call is the first step. There are many organisations that will provide support, both nationally and locally, but probably the best initial source of information is http://www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk/.
Bingo is fun, so let’s try to keep it that way.
By: Gareth Whieldon