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Risky Relationships: The Link Between Problem Gambling and Domestic Violence
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Problem gambling may not be a common topic discussed during Domestic Violence Awareness Month; however, the link between domestic violence and problem gambling makes it important to bring awareness to this volatile relationship.
Domestic violence is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner, which may include physical violence; sexual, psychological, social, or financial abuse; harassment; and stalking.
A recent study of help-seeking gamblers found that forty-nine percent of participants reported being a victim of violence and 43% had perpetrated violence (Bellringer et al., 2017). A person with a gambling problem may experience intense mental and emotional distress which may be expressed through restlessness, irritability, or violence. Someone’s gambling problem may also elicit similar distress from a loved one. The person gambling may be the perpetrator or victim of domestic violence.
Furthermore, there is already evidence that domestic violence increases during professional sporting events due to the emotions experienced from a “home team’s” upset loss, citing issues like consumption of alcohol, increased interactions with family members during games, increased expectations for a positive outcome, and increased stress and anxiety. Our community, the state and the country are seeing increased availability and prevalence of sports gambling, daily fantasy sports, and the like. What happens when those high stakes are further intensified by having large sums of money on the line, potentially for multiple sporting events?
In many ways, this October is unlike any in the past, but some things remain constant – there are many people who will isolate themselves out of fear or shame and will not reach out for the help they need. Domestic Violence Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to offer hope to those experiencing violence in the home.
Problem gambling and domestic violence can impact anyone. If you are experiencing domestic violence or problem gambling, confidential services are available:
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Northeast Problem Gambling Resource Center: 518-801-1491
The Northeast PGRC can offer training, social media posts, and informational handouts about the connection between these two issues. For more information reach out to us at NortheastPGRC@NYProblemGambling.org
NYCPG Annual Conference on Problem Gambling – October 27 & 28. Register here.
If you or someone you care about is looking for support and services to help you begin your pathway to recovery from problem gambling, reach out to the NE PGRC by calling 518-801-1491 or emailing NortheastPGRC@NYProblemGambling.org. All calls are confidential. We’re here to help!
The Northeast Problem Gambling Resource Center is a program of the New York Council on Problem Gambling, which is funded by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. The Northeast PGRC is dedicated to addressing the issue of problem gambling within the Northeastern New York region through increasing public awareness and connecting those adversely affected with services that can help them.
The Northeast Problem Gambling Resource Center is dedicated to the positive transformation of lives harmed by problem gambling. This vision of transformation includes individuals with a gambling problem as well as their families and communities. With a focus on supporting the individual and reducing barriers to care, the Northeast PGRC is truly the premier organization providing problem gambling services in the Northeastern region of New York State.