Viva Las Vegas! on Gaming and Gambling

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Gaming & Gambling Addiction course (8 CE Credit Hours)

When Elvis set the world afire with his 1964 rendition of Viva Las Vegas, gambling was a pleasant pastime for the wealthy: it was a fun way to invite Lady Luck to your table and let off some steam. Today, over two million in the US are addicted to gambling to the extent that they have lost their jobs, homes, and families. Nearly five million more are pathological gamblers who have yet to hit bottom. According to research, the costs of gambling addiction in the United States may reach $5 billion per year or $40 billion per lifetime.

Gambling Addiction: A Recap

  • While the Internet does not significantly change the health risks posed by gambling, it provides vast access to gaming and gambling activities, increasing vulnerability for the general population.
  • Men, as well as those with less education and from lower socio-economic status, are at greater risk for gambling addiction.
  • College athletes, as a group, are more likely to engage in pathological gambling, due to the fact that they are accustomed to engaging in higher risk activities.
  • The college environment, especially regarding attitudes towards sports, may have a significant impact on the intensity of gambling at colleges.
  • Cultural values and customs may serve as informal social controls that impact potential for gambling addiction.
  • Gambling addicts, like those who are addicted to other experiences and substances, may engage in “dry drunk” behavior when they are not actively gambling.
  • The specific intent of treatment interventions for gambling and gaming addictions incorporates the minimization of the harmful consequences of gambling to the gambler and others, avoidance or reduction of the risks associated with gambling environments, development of coping strategies for better managing negative mental states, and the discovery of ways in which needs for entertainment, social connectedness and excitement can be met through healthier avenues.

Gaming and Gambling Addiction: Beyond the One-armed Bandit, will enable psychotherapists to:

  • Define what constitutes addiction
  • Define different forms of addiction
  • Evaluate gambling addiction
  • Identify gambling subtypes
  • Review clinical interventions
  • Discuss gambler’s “dry drunk”
  • Describe the stages of addiction
  • And much more

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