Many people realize that they have a problem when gambling habits lead to disruption in major parts of their lives. Financially, problem gambling can lead to a loss of income, potential loss of assets, lowered standard of living, or even a loss of employment. Personally, problem gambling can cause conflict with loved ones, and can lead to alienation from family and friends.
Problem gambling can also impact your health. You can experience a number of health effects, including high blood pressure, digestive problems, stress and anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
CTV News recently reported on a study from Statistics Canada that showed that wealthier people, on average, spend more money on wagering, but gamblers who have less money spend a larger percentage of their income on gaming activities.
According to the CTV report, Statistics Canada says that 6.3 percent of people are thought to be "at risk gamblers and problem gamblers." Problem gamblers make up 0.6 percent of the Canadian population which is roughly 180,000 people. The Statistics Canada definition of a problem gambler is someone who has experienced negative consequences of gaming and who gambles more than five times a year.
People who gamble responsibly:
· Do so for entertainment rather than income.
· Balance their participation with other activities.
· Do not gamble alone.
· Accept losses as the cost of the entertainment.
· Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
· Don't borrow money to gamble.
· Set a time limit for gambling.
· Take breaks from gambling.
If you have gone into debt in order to gamble you have a problem and you have to stand up against it. You are truly putting yourself in a position where you could lose everything, if it hasn’t happened already. There is a lot of support for people who have gambling debt in Canada. This support assists gamblers to deal with their addictions and the debt that they have accumulated as a result of the addiction.
Some steps that you can take are to join a support group like Gamblers Anonymous, consider excluding yourself from gambling using the Responsible Gaming Commissions self-exclusion tool and seek professional financial guidance immediately. Do not transfer assets in the names of loved ones or borrow more money on top of the money you may already owe. There are many financial programs available that help gamblers who are dealing with a gambling debt in Canada and you can access these programs though debt consultants who are skilled at dealing with situations like the one you may be in now.
If you are dealing with debt because of gambling you are not alone! Tens of thousands of Canadians are in your shoes and there is hope.
For more information about dealing with debt or how to get help with gambolling debt in Canada please visit www.debtcare.ca or call 416-907-2582.