The South Suburban Council, a leading provider of behavioral health services in the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana and all surrounding communities and Counties, has begun offering treatment programs for gambling addictions.

Gambling Disorder Brochure

​​​​​​​​​​Many of the phrases we use have roots in gambling. Think of how many times a day you start a sentence with, “I bet…” Here are a few more examples:

  • “The odds are…”
  • “It’s a sure thing!”
  • “It’s a crapshoot.”
  • “I have an ace in the hole.”

It’s a safe bet (another phrase that comes from gambling) that you’ve often used these phrases! All these common sayings prove that gambling has been around a long time—long enough to have created some myths. Here are some popular myths and facts about gambling.

Myth: Gambling is a way to make money.
Fact: More often, gambling is a way to lose money. If you gamble, think of it as a kind of entertainment you have to pay for, just like a movie or dinner with friends. That can help you keep gambling in perspective—and if you end up winning some money now and then, it’ll be a nice treat instead of something you were depending on.

Myth: People can predict if a coin toss is going to come up heads or tails.
Fact: Each flip of the coin is an independent event. It doesn’t matter what came up in the previous flips. The chance of heads or tails coming up in a single flip is 50%, no matter how many times you flip the coin.

Myth: There are systems that make it easier to predict winning lottery numbers.
Fact: It doesn’t matter how you pick the numbers; your odds of winning are always the same. All the numbers are put into a drum and mixed up. The selection is purely by chance.

Myth: Most teens don’t gamble.
Fact: About 2 out of 3 teenagers gamble.

Myth: Teens don’t develop gambling problems.
Fact: Teens tend to gamble with friends and not in casinos, but that doesn’t mean they can’t develop gambling problems. In a recent survey of students in grades 7 to 12, just over 2%, so about 2 out of every 100 students surveyed showed signs of problem gambling. About 4% or 4 out of every 100 students showed signs of being at risk for developing problems with gambling.

Myth: People can usually win their money back if they have a losing streak.
Fact: Not true! Casinos stay in business because most people don’t win their money back. Think about it: how long would a casino stay in business if it paid out more money than it took in? The fact is that most gamblers lose far more money than they win in these places.

Myth: Winning the lottery would put you on “easy street”.
Fact: Not if you are under 18 years old! It is against lottery regulations for those under 18 to buy lottery tickets, collect lottery winnings, or play any other game sponsored by the Gaming Commission. (That includes scratch-and-win tickets.)

MORE MYTHS VS FACTS

1. “Lucky” people have better chances to win at gambling.
Fact: There’s no “luck” involved. Each outcome is always random.

2. “Cold” machines that haven’t paid out in a while are due to pay out.
Fact:  The outcomes are always random, every time.

3. “Hot” machines that have been paying off all day will likely continue paying off.
Fact:  The outcomes are always random, every time.

4. If you lose at first, just keep playing and you’ll win it back.
Fact: “Chasing” a win often leads to losing more and more.

5.  You can’t get addicted to an activity the way you can to a substance.
Fact: Addiction happens in the brain, and can be in response to substances OR activities.

6. You have to have money to become a problem gambler.
Fact: There’s no dollar amount threshold to have a gambling problem.

7. There is no treatment for problem gambling-you just need to stop.
Fact: There are evidence-based treatments for gambling addiction, and most people who seek treatment benefit from it.

8. Casinos cheat to get your money
Fact: They don’t have to.

9. You need a good “system” to win at slots.
Fact:  The outcomes are always random, every time.

10. Using good luck charms will increase your chances of winning.
Fact: There’s no “luck” involved. Each outcome is always random.

11. There are books and websites that can help you learn to be a better slot player.
Fact: There are no “experts” at Electronic Gaming Machines. The outcomes are always random, every time.

12. Problem gamblers are bad at math.
Fact: Many problem gamblers are actually great at math. Unfortunately, the random outcomes of gambling cannot be predicted.

13. If you keep track of when a machine typically pays off, you can increase your chances of winning.
Fact: Casinos can’t set up the machines to pay at particular times of the day or week

14. Casinos pump oxygen in to make you stay longer.
Fact: Casinos don’t pump oxygen in to make you stay longer and spend more.

15. If you don’t gamble every day, you aren’t a problem gambler.
Fact: Some problem gamblers wager sporadically or on a binge. Many do not play every day.

16. If you keep track of winning symbols and near-misses can figure out when the machine will pay out.
Fact: You cannot increase your odds at the slots by keeping track of the lemons and other symbols

17. As long as you can pay your bills, your gambling problem hasn’t gotten bad yet.
Fact: Problem gambling isn’t defined by how much money you’ve spent, but by the fact that you continue spending time and money in spite of negative consequences.

18. Kids can’t become problem gamblers.
Fact: Studies have shown that youth are 2-4 times more likely than an adult to show problem gambling symptoms.

19. You can tell by looking at someone they have a gambling problem.
Fact: Gambling addiction is often called the silent disorder, because unlike with substance abuse you cannot see or smell it.

20. Gambling is less harmful than many other ways to cope with stress.
Fact: The emotional, financial, and even physical toll of problem gambling can ruin people’s lives.

21. Gambling addiction isn’t as serious as other addictions.
Fact:  Gambling addiction has the highest rate of suicide among all addictions.

22. If you can find someone to pay off your gambling debts, you’ll have a clean slate and be on your way to recovery.
Fact: Most problem gamblers say that getting a “bailout” only enables them to continue gambling.

23. The more money you bet, the more likely you are to win.
Fact: This idea is not supported by math.

24. Machines located in certain locations in a casino are more likely to pay out.
Fact: Slot machines near the doors and aisle don’t pay more often than others

25. Men are more likely to become problem gamblers.
Fact: Gambling addiction is an equal opportunity addiction. About half of the callers to 1-800-Gambler are females.

26. If you are a problem gambler, at least you are only hurting yourself.
Fact: Too many times, the loved ones of a problem gambler suffer as well.

27. Letting kids gamble isn’t like buying them beer or cigarettes.
Fact: In most cases, it is illegal for underage children to gamble. Most problem gamblers report that they started gambling at an early age, and children are especially susceptible to the misconception that create gambling problems.

28. Games like Bingo aren’t really gambling.
Fact:  Any game involving wagering money is gambling.

29. You can’t have “withdrawal” from stopping gambling.
Fact:  Many problem gamblers report becoming restless or irritable when they aren’t playing.

30. Gambling addiction is very rare.
Fact.  Studies have shown that around 1% of the population has a severe gambling addiction and another 2-3% show symptoms of problem gambling.

31. To overcome a gambling addiction, you have to find a 28-day in-patient facility.
Fact:  Most problem gamblers are successfully treated on an out-patient basis.

32. Gamblers Anonymous is just a bunch of people sitting around telling stories about how much they lost.
Fact:  Like other 12-step programs, GA revolves around a group of like-minded people encouraging each other in recovery.

33. You’ll never win if you don’t play.
Fact: Okay, technically not a myth, but remember the more likely mantra “You’ll never lose if you don’t play.”

34. If you spend a dollar on a lottery ticket, you may at least win a dollar, so you’re ahead.
Fact: Think about that for a minute.

35. People who win the lottery live happily ever after.
Fact: Read The 10 Worst Lottery Winner Horror Stories In History

36. If the Roulette Wheel has landed on red several times in a row, bet on black because it’s due to come up.
Fact: Read Classic Gambler’s Fallacy

37. If you pay attention to patterns, you are more likely to win.
Fact: Outcomes are ALWAYS RANDOM. EVERY TIME.

38. A “near miss” indicates you were about to win.
Fact: Outcomes are ALWAYS RANDOM. EVERY TIME.

And Some More Myths & Facts

Like all addictions, problem gambling can negatively impact a person’s family, job, and friendships. Below are common myths about problem gambling that may help you recognize if either you or a loved one have a problem.

MYTH: You have to gamble every day to be a problem gambler.
FACT: A problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently. The frequency is not as important as the impact of the gambling. If a person’s gambling is causing psychological, physiological, financial, emotional, marital, legal, or other difficulties either for the person gambling or the people around him or her, then he or she has a gambling problem.


MYTH: Problem gamblers gamble at every opportunity and on any form of gambling.
FACT: Most problem gamblers have a favorite form of gambling that triggers their problematic behavior. Some may also engage in secondary forms of gambling – ones that are not usually as problematic for them — but the slowness of the secondary forms often leave them unsatisfied and end up pushing them back to the primary type of gambling in which they prefer to engage. When a patient is using one form of gambling to attempt to fund the second form, like a sports bettor who is trying to earn money to play cards, it is widely held that their addictive behavior has progressed to a problem or pathological degree.


MYTH: Problem gambling is not really a problem if the gambler can afford it.
FACT: Issues caused by excessive gambling are not always financial. If a person’s gambling is interfering with his or her ability to act in accordance with his or her values, then that person has a problem. Too much time spent on gambling means less time spent with family, friends, and business associates. Problem gambling can lead to the breakdown of committed relationships, the loss of important friendships, and an impaired professional life.


MYTH: Problem gamblers are irresponsible people.
FACT: Many problem gamblers hold, or have held, positions of responsibility in their communities. Even people with a long history of responsible behavior are vulnerable to developing a gambling problem. Problem gamblers may come across as irresponsible people – even when they are not – due to the fact that during episodes of problem gambling, they enter into a compromised and out-of-control state of mind that may lead them take to actions or risks they would not normally take.


MYTH: Children are not affected by problem gambling.
FACT: Surveys show that about 10% to 15% of American youth have experienced gambling-related problems and that 1% to 6% of these individuals may satisfy diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. Additionally, children of problem gamblers have been shown to be at a higher risk of developing health-threatening behaviors. This includes alcohol and drug use, problem gambling, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal impulses. In short, gambling affects people of all ages.


MYTH: Partners of problem gamblers often drive them to engage in problematic gambling behavior.
FACT: Problem gamblers are very skilled in finding ways to rationalize their gambling. Blaming others, particularly one’s partners, is one way for problem gamblers to avoid taking the responsibility for their actions – including actions needed to overcome their gambling problems.


MYTH: Financial problems are the main reason that problem gamblers’ relationships break down.
FACT: It is true that money problems can play an important part in ending relationships. However, many partners of people with gambling problems say that lies and lack of trust are what actually cause their relationship breakdowns.


MYTH: Parents of problem gamblers are to blame for their children’s behavior.
FACT: Many parents of problem gamblers may feel hurt and guilty about their son’s or daughter’s gambling behavior, but they are not to blame.


MYTH: If a problem gambler builds up a debt, the important thing to do is to help them resolve their financial problems as soon as possible.
FACT: Quick-fix solutions are often attractive to everyone involved and may indeed appear to be the right thing to do. However, “bailing” a problem gambler out of debt may actually make matters worse by enabling gambling problems to continue further.


MYTH: Problem gambling is easy to recognize.
FACT: Problem gambling has been called the “hidden addiction.” It is very easy to hide as it has few recognizable symptoms, unlike alcohol and drug use. Many problem gamblers themselves do not recognize they have a gambling problem or engage in self-denial.

For more information and to find our gambling disorder treatment services, please call 708.647.3333

Gambling Disorder Brochure

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