According to a study conducted for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in 1999 there are an estimated 3 million adults in the U.S. who are considered problem gamblers. Another 2 million are pathological gamblers.
In the above study, a problem gambler is defined as a person who gambles more than he or she can afford. He or she may lie about gambling or he or she may gamble longer than he or she planned. Pathological or compulsive gambler, on the other hand, is defined as someone who cannot resist the temptation to gamble. Pathological or compulsive gambling is a chronic and progressive disease.
Gamblers Anonymous offers the following questions to anyone who feels he or she may have a gambling problem and wants to stop gambling. Compulsive gamblers usually answer "yes" to at least seven of the following questions.
Do you lose time from work due to gambling?
Does gambling make your home life unhappy?
Does gambling affect your reputation?
Do you ever feel remorse after gambling?
Do you ever gamble to get money to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible to win back your losses?
After a win, do you have a strong urge to return and win more?
Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
Are you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
Does gambling make you careless about the welfare of yourself or your family?
Do you ever gamble longer than expected?
Do you ever gamble to escape worry or trouble?
Do you ever commit, or consider committing, an illegal act to finance your gambling?
Does gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
Do you have an urge to celebrate good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
Do you ever consider a self-destruction as a result of your gambling?
20 Questions courtesy Gamblers Anonymous