Where gambling harm can start
All sorts of people can develop issues with gambling. It isn't possible to identify a single trigger that may have pushed someone over the edge.
It's more likely to be the result of a combination of experiences and social cues. Motivation may be a factor. For example, someone playing the pokies in their local club may see it as an escape from problems or worries, while someone who bets on horse racing or plays casino table games may be chasing a thrill.
Situations that can kickstart a problem
Some life experiences may kickstart excessive gambling, things like:
- a big win early on, which creates a powerful positive association between gambling and winning
- anxiety and stress at home or work
- a close personal loss.
Additional risk factors
People are also affected by longer-term risk factors, like:
- a family history of addiction
- mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- not understanding that gambling outcomes are random
- a tendency to avoid or escape problems and emotional stress rather than seek support
- personal issues with alcohol or drugs.
Who's less likely to develop problems?
It seems like common sense, but the people who are less vulnerable generally have:
- financial security
- supportive friends
- hopes and dreams for the future
- stability at work
- the ability to use support rather than escape to cope with problems
- knowledge of the randomness of winning
- the capacity to set limits on betting.