Gambling should only be done responsibly and those who have developed gambling problems need to stop immediately. I’m not preaching from the pulpit here, coming on from high on down, I have real gambling issues of my own. Fortunately my gambling problem didn’t destroy my life or leave my penniless or anything of that extreme nature, but I know gambling is a behaviour that I shouldn’t engage in.
For me, there are only two acceptable results when I gamble: winning money or breaking even. That’s it, I can’t deal with anything else. It got to the point where I’d win $15,000 in Macau and it wouldn’t even register with me. I’d walk away from the casino feeling nothing because I knew I was still $100,000 in the hole. There was no joy, no happiness, no nothing. And that’s when I realised that gambling was over for me. If I couldn’t feel happy after a big win, then there was no point in playing.
There were other issues as well besides chasing losses. I gamble to win, I gamble to feel good, I gamble to try and feel something I’ve never felt before. Five years ago if I’d won $15,000 I’d have ran down the street going crazy thinking I’d just won the lottery. But after you’ve had a few big wins they kind of start losing their luster, especially when you’re down so much overall. And in a strange twist of fate, I think I began not only chasing losses, but also chasing big wins too.
Just the same as drinking or drugs or insert other destructive behaviour here, it always takes more and more to make you feel what you felt before. Only I didn’t have the bankroll to risk reaching those heights and I knew it. So about three years ago I did the sensible thing, and just stopped gambling altogether. It was actually quite easy. I just got tired of losing money and then feeling nothing when I did win some back. In a nutshell, nothing positive was coming from gambling anymore.
I’ll tell you something else though. I still think about that $100,000 Hong Kong I’m down. In the future if I ever amass enough disposable income where I can afford to chase it, I just may chase it, I don’t know. I’m stubborn that way. It’s probably one of my larger character flaws, and why I have this gambling issue to begin with.
Anyway if you can identify with anything that I just wrote, then you might need to ask yourself some serious questions about your gambling activity and why you do it. I found this list on the former Addiction.com site which highlights signs of gambling problems. If any of these scenarios apply to you, then it’s time to quit gambling and seek help if you can’t do it alone.
• being preoccupied with gambling, playing lotto, going to the casino, gambling online, etc
• avoiding obligations at work, school, home or socially in order to spend time gambling
• avoiding friends or family who have voiced concern of a potential gambling addiction
• financial hardships such as loss of house, car, job, or other possessions to gambling
• stealing money to gamble or to pay debts
• selling possessions to acquire money to gamble or pay debts
• inability to control behaviors despite a desire to have such control
• neglecting expenses such as bills or other financial obligations in order to gamble
• sneaking around, telling lies about gambling or otherwise masking a potential problem
• denying actions or minimizing problems
Besides that, Macau is so much more than just casinos, gambling, and the high and lows that come with the turn of a card. To see a whole other (safer) side to the city, check out our comprehensive Travel Guide below!