TYLER, TX (KLTV) -March is recognized as national problem gambling awareness month.
With more East Texans gambling in record numbers according to the Texas Lottery. Many players are able to play within their limits, but some lose control.
Tyler Sullins, Licensed Professional Counselor, Alethia Family Counseling Center, tells KLTV, ”problem gambling would be you’re starting to spend more and more money in order to get that same desire or result which would be that rush, that dopamine, that feel good.”
Sullins says people with a gambling problem are winners first before they lose , while pinning their hopes on a big jackpot.
“They’re working hard spending their hard earn money on things that are really a low probability,” adds Sullins.
When the hope is gone, Sullins says the game is no longer about the thrill of winning, but instead about chasing the loss.
“It overpromises and underdelivers,” explains Sullins.
That’s why during the month of march, the Texas Lottery is joining the National Council on Problem Gambling to encourage lottery players to play responsibly.
“It’s a problem that I think will only intensify as people find the need to have an experience to change the way they feel, to feel different.”
Professional counselors say about 4-6 million people in the U.S. are estimated to meet the criteria for being considered problem gamblers.
“With the rise of online sports betting I mean and even people investing in games: online gaming, spending countless amounts of money gems or pearls,” says Sullins.
Sullins asks people in his sessions to weigh the costs and benefits of gambling to help them realize it’s impact on their lives. “The reality is it’s going to wreck their family, it’s going to affect their relationships, they’re going to end up doing things character wise that they wish they wouldn’t of.”
However, Sullins says there is hope, and there is help available.
“For those who come and are willing to engage with it and admit that somethings going on and it’s really devastating their lives then yes there’s healing and hope in the end,” explains Sullins.