Organised approved sports betting dates back to the late 18 century where there was a swing in the official stance towards gambling, from considering it to a sin to considering it to a vice and a human weakness and lastly to seeing it as a mostly harmless and even entertaining activity.
By the start of the 21 century approximately four out of five people in western nations gambled at least every week. A person who wagers money on the outcome of games or sporting events can be categorized as a gambler.
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However, the telltale signs of a gambling addiction are comparatively non-existent, unlike the noticeable physical changes which occur when someone has consumed immoderate amounts of alcohol or drugs.
Thus, gambling is often referred to as the 'hidden addiction.' As well as outlining the characteristics of someone who may be labeled a 'problem gambler,' the following essay will detail the often catastrophic effects this behaviour can have on the individual and the entire community.
3 Squire's 1937 Psychoanalytic Review, as cited in Orford, Jim (2001) Excessive Appetites John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
4 Lorenz and Yaffe, 1986 as cited in Report on Problem Gambling Commissioned and Published by the Home Office 5 Ladouceur et al.
However, in reality gambling is such a consuming psychological addiction that, left to his own devises, the gambler refuses to quit until he has won or, more likely, lost everything.
1 Volberg, 1994 as cited in Report on Problem Gambling Commissioned and Published by the Home Office 2 Orford, Jim (2001) Excessive Appetites John Wiley & Sons Ltd.