Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is problem gambling?
Problem gambling occurs when gambling interferes with a person’s usual activities and responsibilities and has negative impacts, such as with personal relationships, financial status, work performance and physical or mental health.

Who can become a problem gambler?
Anyone who gambles can develop a problem if he or she is not aware of the risks and does not play responsibly. A problem gambler can be any age, gender, ethnicity, religion or socio-economic status. 

When does gambling become a problem?
Gambling becomes a problem when the person’s life is negatively impacted in some way.  These problems include conflict in relationships with family members, friends or co-workers, gambling debt, and physical or mental health signs of stress.

Do you have to gamble everyday to be a problem gambler?
No, a problem gambler may gamble frequently or infrequently.  If a person’s gambling is causing psychological, financial, emotional, marital, legal or other difficulties for themselves and the people around them, then they have a gambling problem.

Is problem gambling easy to recognize?
Problem gambling has been called the "hidden addiction."  Problem gambling is very easy to hide as it has few recognizable symptoms.  Many problem gamblers themselves do not recognize they have a gambling problem.  Problem gamblers often engage in self-denial.

Why would a person not seek help for a gambling problem?
One reason is that the individual may not believe he or she has a problem.  Often family and friends are aware of the problem before the gambler.   Feelings of shame, embarrassment, helplessness or hopelessness about the gambling problem may also discourage a person from getting help.

Can I make someone who has a gambling problem stop gambling?
No, you cannot make a problem gambler stop gambling.  The individual has to acknowledge he or she has a problem and make the decision to seek help.  However, when family or friends get help for themselves, it increases the likelihood the gambler will also seek help.

How widespread is problem gambling in the United States?
Two million (1%) of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year.  According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, another 4-6 million (2-3%) are estimated to be problem gamblers.

To learn more, please call the SC Gambling Helpline toll-free at 1-877-452-5155.