Have you ever dreamt about a career as a professional poker player, blackjack expert, or roulette wheel spinner? The prospects of big winnings, freedom to travel, and life in the spotlight attract many people to professional gambling careers. Unfortunately, being a professional gambler isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. In fact, people who choose to play poker or bet on sports for a living can end up putting themselves at risk for various issues, including serious gambling problems.
Should you really consider a career at the cards table or with pro sports bettors? The choice is ultimately up to you, but before you step into the world of professional gambling, read up on these very real dangers associated with the job.
Throwing away a secure job for one that seems flashy and fun can have very real consequences (see our piece on stock trading gambling). Truly making a profit as a professional gambler can be very hard to do, and even some world-class pros can go weeks or months without seeing any winnings. If you’ve ever lived paycheck to paycheck, you already know how anxiety-inducing it can be. As a professional gambler, you’ll also be living paycheck to paycheck, except there’s a chance that said paycheck might not even arrive in the first place.
Mental Health Problems
Partaking in amateur sports betting and visiting casinos can be fun in moderation, so doing it for work should be a blast, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Gambling is one of the most stressful jobs you can have. Because every roll of the dice or flip of the cards dictates your income, as the stakes get higher, so do your stress levels. Mental health issues are overwhelmingly common among professional gamblers, with anxiety and depression being two of the most frequent issues discussed. Mental health is also closely related to physical health, so even if you’re making big profits as a professional gambler, having such a stressful job can significantly harm both your mental and physical well-being.
Lack of Job Security
At a standard 9 to 5 job, your boss or supervisor needs you as part of the team. You’re involved in ideas, decisions, communication and receive a paycheck for your hard work. By hiring you, your company has established that they need you as a “piece of the puzzle.”
This type of job security doesn’t exist for professional gamblers. While there are always new tournaments to join and betting markets to keep an eye on, there’s no promise of a payout if you lose. Your favorite online gambling site doesn’t want or need to give you money — as a matter of fact, they profit because you’re giving it to them.
If you occasionally dabble in online gambling during a relaxed weekend at home, have tried a sports gambling app in your spare time, or hit the casino when you’re in the city with friends, you aren’t necessarily at risk of developing a gambling disorder. But if you gamble for work, you literally won’t be able to stop gambling without losing your job. This means that gambling becomes your life, and when it becomes your life, it takes over everything else.
One of the symptoms of problem gambling identified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a “preoccupation with gambling.” Many professional gamblers end up developing severe gambling problems as a result of their total immersion in the sports betting industry, the horse racing industry, or the poker circuit. And since being surrounded by other problem gamblers only worsens the urge to continue gambling, it’s a vicious cycle for everyone involved.
Don’t Go Pro
If you need help overcoming a gambling problem or are seeking gambling treatment options, 800-GAMBLER is here for you. Call our toll-free, confidential 24/7 helpline anytime or chat with us online. We can connect you to local resources or just provide a listening ear. Also, be sure to check out the rest of our site for other informative articles on problem gambling, such as our piece “Is Abilify Dangerous?”
The world of professional gambling isn’t all glitz and glam. These very real dangers are just a fraction of the problems you can encounter when you make betting into a career. Choose to gamble responsibly, and you’ll have a much healthier and happier life. Give us a call today, and we can help you decide to take your life back once and for all.