Wagering with Reality: Lessons on Gambling Addiction from Fictional Tales

Gambling is supposed to be fun. The rush of adrenaline you experience while watching that last game of that 4-leg parlay come your way is unlike any other. However, a lot of players tend to get carried away. The emotions are always running high when betting, and the thrill of winning is sometimes too alluring, which can ultimately lead to a pathological state of gambling addiction.

Movie makers have tackled the issue of problem gambling left and right. From James Toback’s 1974 hit movie The Gambler to Adam Sandler’s crime thriller Uncut Gems, and yes, Adam Sandler does star in films other than romcoms, gambling has held a prominent spot.

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Still, gambling addiction and the problems it brings are more nuanced than just having wise guys breaking your limbs for missing payments. It’s the toll it takes on the person’s psyche that can quickly get too unbearable.

This article focuses on the untold truths about problem gambling and how you can stay on track and enjoy it safely.

Reality vs. Fiction — What the Movies Don’t Tell You About Gambling Addiction

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, around 2% of the gambling population is at risk of problem gambling. The percentage doesn’t seem like much, but the shocking effect is greatly exacerbated when you translate that to 300,000 individuals.

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These are real people with your average lives, not the business moguls dealing with precious gems, like Adam Sandler’s character in Uncut Gems, who loves to live precariously and has the funds to fuel his gambling addiction.

In real life, people don’t have bookies and their goons chasing after them. Now, with legal sportsbooks and online casinos all across North America, you can gamble on state-approved platforms. Also, in movies about gambling addiction, the protagonists ultimately catch a break and have that big win they’ve been waiting for the whole time. Take Gerry from the 2015 movie Mississippi Grind. In the end, he repurchases his car from the dealer he sold it to, telling him he got lucky.

Actually, problem gamblers might never get lucky. No big wins are coming their way, putting an excruciating amount of pressure. That pressure can easily lead to mental problems. The entire world is caving in on them, as nothing seems to go their way. Relationships break since you won’t see many people standing by problem gamblers in real life as the losses accumulate. They ask to borrow money from you constantly, with little or no intention of paying it back, and you know it.

What’s more, the ubiquity of gambling is now undeniable. There’s no need to go to shady bookies and mobsters to place your bet on odds they set, like in the movies. While legalized online gambling has protected players from dealing with the mafia, it has made betting more available, consequently leading to more people becoming susceptible to excessive gambling.

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Emotional vs. Rational Betting — Betting with Your Head, Not Above It

The key to a successful betting adventure is adhering to responsible gambling practices. People tend to make what can only be described as rookie mistakes. Betting on teams you root for is the most common one. Don’t get your emotions involved if you want to be profitable bettors.

Chasing your losses is another big issue that sets the stage for problem gambling. The emotions kick in, and you are dangerously close to placing an irrational wager with no real value or chance.

Instead, you need to put your faith in rationale. Analyze betting data, trends, follow the line movements, and go line-shopping to see which sportsbooks offer the best odds for a particular event. This is the only guarantee that you’ll have a fighting chance. Remember to account for the vig or the cut sportsbooks take for every bet, no matter how it settles. Sometimes they move the line to ensure they win big, so don’t always follow the buzz.

Final Thoughts

Gambling addiction can easily ruin a person’s life. Family, business, and every other aspect of life can be entangled in the issue. As we’ve seen in movies and real-life examples from our communities, it’s easier to get into trouble with problem gambling than you think. Always bet with your head, never above it. It’s the only way to have fun betting and not jeopardize your livelihood.

The post Wagering with Reality: Lessons on Gambling Addiction from Fictional Tales appeared first on iGaming.org.

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