If you are a compulsive gambler, then you most likely “borrowed” from credit cards, family, friends – anywhere where money was available, hoping to fund one more bet that gets you back on track. I know, because that is exactly my story. I didn’t get the big win to get my money back, but instead a huge debt.
Even after admitting I am a compulsive gambler, unexpected problem occurred: complacency and listening to ‘the voice’ (‘I have things under control so it will be fine to have one bet’). Fighting with my addiction also left me wander if I will ever be able watch sport again, without having an urge to gamble.
For many years, I used to watch football, especially big tournaments like World Cup. Watching with my friends on the weekend somewhere in the pub and having few pints was special for me. I still remember times when “real” Ronaldo was playing. For me he was the best player in the world.
For many of us, a sporting event is an opportunity to take some time out and indulge in something entertaining on an otherwise boring weekend. Even if we don’t make it to the stadium, we make sure to watch the live broadcast of the event when our favorite team is playing. Be it soccer or horse racing, we love watching them for the sheer fun and entertainment they provide.
But there are many others who take the fun to an addictive level—something that costs them their valuable monetary earnings and savings. That’s the horror of sports betting and gambling addiction that’s engulfing millions of people in countries like the US and the UK. Major sports leagues, such as MLB, the NHL, the NBA and the likes have become avenues where sports bettors place bets (huge ones) and seek to multiply what they put in.
However, the results aren’t favorable always. Since it’s a game of chance, nothing’s guaranteed and people land up losing even their fortune to the urge to gamble more till they get something out of it. Rising debts and remortgages cause them immense mental and financial distress, and take a heavy toll on their overall wellbeing.
The good news is there is help. People who have become aware of this destructive pattern approach professionals to break it. Some of them even land up in a rehab center where they are kept away from any opportunity to watch sport lest they feel the urge to gamble again. Most of the awakened gamblers prefer not to watch live sport again because they find the ads and content triggering enough to fall off the bandwagon. In fact, they wish betting on sport was outlawed because many people fall in the addiction trap again.
Nonetheless, if you are a recovering gambling addict, a lot depends on your willpower. If you choose to improve and stay on track, you will soon be able to watch sports without the urge of gambling away your hard-earned money.
If a bar with the football on TV, or a club with your favorite slot machine is the beginning of the gambling trigger for you, then you should avoid going there for a while. I don’t trust myself and that is why I stopped checking the sports results for a while. My biggest worry is that I will be exposed to gambling promotions during sports broadcasts and I won’t be able to resist them.
One day I hope I will be able to watch my favorite team playing, without having an urge to gamble. I cannot wait those times when I will be able to rediscover the joy of watching football again, without being sucked to the betting nightmare again.