March Madness is considered to be one of the biggest gambling events of the year. For most, this annual tournament is an entertainment diversion. But what do you do if you suffer from a gambling addiction?
The championship game has come and gone, but for many, the event is still on our minds. Hours upon hours have been spent on filling out bracket pools by people across the country. As professionals who devote our time to helping people with gambling disorders, we’re taking this time to reflect on how to help those who struggle with problem gambling deal with the temptation to gamble during national sporting events. We’re also aware that, in the aftermath of a national sporting craze, problem gamblers may continue betting with monies won during the event, or try to win back what they lost during the game.
Sporting events always pose a temptation to get swept up in the action, even if the ultimate cost is one you can’t afford. Here are five steps to prevent a relapse into illegal sports gambling and including racetrack wagering in Monmouth, NJ, and other surrounding areas.
- Write down reasons why you stopped gambling – Think of three to five reasons why you wanted to stop gambling in the first place and look at your list when a craving hits.
- Don’t Do Any Office Pools – Sure, filling out an office pool is innocent and costs only $5-$10, but may still provide the rush that may trigger a gambling outburst. You’re also not obligated to explain to your co-workers why you don’t want to fill out a bracket pool.
- Use your imagination – Try and figure out some ways to soak in the games without having to bet. Invite friends to come over and watch the games with you. If watching the games themselves are a trigger for you, use the time to do some yard work, run errands or catch up with a friend that’s not into sports.
- Go to meetings – If you’re abiding by a 12-step program, attend some extra meetings to help avoid the temptation of betting on championships and tournaments. You can also go in an attempt to find more coping strategies to combat the triggers.
- Use your support system – Whether you’re reaching out to your 12-step sponsor, counselor or friend, do so when you have an urge to bet. Your support system will help talk your through the urges you’re experiencing.
Whether your issue is casino gambling or off-track wagering at Winners, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) is here to help. If you’d like more information, call our 24/7 hotline, 1-800-GAMBLER.