Morality and Gambling Addiction

Can you 'bet' on stopping gambling?In the UK there appears to be a moral issue in terms of the public's approach to addictions. Recent events in the US seem to indicate that this feeling is not just confined to the UK. Whatever ones perspective is on the morality of addictions, and in this articles case specifically gambling, the consequences of addiction can be traumatic for both the person with the addictive behaviour and their loved ones. However, recovery is possible and this where recovery treatment facilities like Life Works can come into play.

This month, the Tropicana Casino in America's Atlantic City was fined fifteen thousand dollars for allowing a known cheat and problem gambler to play at their tables. The money will go to the Casino Revenue Fund set up to help gambling addicts and educate the public on the dangers of problem gambling. Unfortunately, this sort of disregard for the very laws set up to protect gambling addicts is an all too common occurrence.

There is a stigma attached to gambling addiction, with some refusing to recognise it as an actual affliction.  Such suspicion, however, serves only to damage the understanding and help offered to those prone to exhibiting addictive behaviour. Gambling addiction, known in severe cases as problem gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder that has been diagnosed as a pathological illness.  Despite being aware of the risks gambling afflicts on them and their loved ones, an addict will struggle to control their urges to bet irresponsibly.

The consequences of prolonged problem gambling can be severe. Addicts face possible bankruptcy and family break-downs, emotional anxiety, pathological lying and illegal acts in order to feed their habit such as theft or embezzlement. The resulting problems can be so severe that some gamblers resort to self-harm or suicide in order to escape their addiction.

Moral Obligations


When a situation such as the Tropicana Casino case arises, it shines a welcome spotlight on the issue of gambling addiction and its far-reaching effects. Addiction to gambling is seen as being a self-control rather than a medical issue. This notion hinders the help given to those suffering from this condition and disregards the complex road to recovery.

Gambling addiction treatment necessitates addressing the behaviour of the gambler, although no one method has been proven universally efficacious. Some studies have shown the effectiveness of drug therapy, but the overwhelming choice has traditionally been counselling with peers and step-based programs.  Many casinos offer voluntary exclusion programs that enforce the removal of problem gamblers from the premises, but these measures can only be effective when casinos honour the rules and laws attached. The British Gambling Commission regulates most forms of gambling and offers support for those suffering from addiction and its effects.

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