Holiday Stress and Gambling

The holiday season can be stressful. During the holidays we often have social gatherings, rituals, and happy memories. You may set certain expectations for the holidays that unintendedly lead to anxiety. Finances may be tight during the holidays, or you may be worried about seeing family members. This may result in you using gambling to escape those problems.  

Recognizing a Problem  

If you are using gambling to cope with the stress of the holiday season, it may be time to sit down and evaluate your gambling. Ask yourself, are you feeling like you need to gamble with increasing amounts of money? Are you lying to important people in your life about how much you are gambling? 

If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you may be struggling with your gambling. Another way to evaluate your gambling is to take the Problem Gambling Resource Center’s E-Screener. The E-Screener is an online tool to help you decide if you are ready to reach out for support for your gambling. The tool is completely anonymous to take, and no identifying or personal information is needed.  

Warning Signs  

If you think gambling is negatively affecting your life, you may notice some of the warning signs in yourself. Gambling can be easy to hide from your family and friends, but the stress and anxiety of hiding it can cause problems in your life. Some of the warning signs include:  

  • Gambling with increased amounts of money to get to the desired level of excitement.  
  • Becoming restless and irritable when you try and cut back on your gambling.  
  • Thinking about gambling all the time 
  • Planning for the next time you gamble or thinking about ways to get money to gamble.  
  • Gambling when you are feeling stressed and anxious.  

Noticing these warning signs can be the first step in reaching out for support. Know that if gambling is adding to your holiday stress, there is help available.  

Problem Gambling Resource Centers  

The New York State Problem Gambling Resource Centers are here to help. Whether you are looking for a meeting to attend, online resources, or to be connected to a clinician, we are here for you. Visit to be connected to the resource center closest to you. Don’t let the stress of gambling ruin your holiday season. Reach out today and be one step closer to a healthy holiday season.