Exposing the Dark Side of Gambling Addiction


The Missouri Department of Mental Health


Gambling refers to risking something of value on an event of uncertain outcome. Legal forms of gambling available in Missouri include raffles, charitable games (i.e. bingo, pull-tabs, etc.), Missouri Lottery games, and licensed riverboat casinos. Many illegal forms of gambling are also available, including sports betting, dice and card games, Internet gambling, illegal slot machines (i.e. Cherry Master, Silver Falls , etc.), animal fighting, and underage gambling.

Problem and Compulsive Gambling

Compulsive gambling is a behavior disorder in which an individual has an uncontrollable preoccupation and urge to gamble. It is a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, emotional dependence on gambling, and loss of control. The compulsive gambler gets the same effect from gambling as someone else might get from drinking alcohol, taking a tranquilizer, or taking cocaine.

The impact of a gambling addiction far exceeds the obvious financial losses incurred by the repeated gambling. For example:

Extent of Problem

Some of the More Common Warning Signs of a Gambling Problem

You can also find more information on the following Web sites:


Missouri Constitution, Article III, Sections 39(a) through 39(f)
National Council on Problem Gambling
Nevada Council on Problem Gambling
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition, 1994), commonly known as DSM-IV, published by the American Psychiatric Association
National Gambling Impact Study Commission Final Report (1999)
Politzer RM, Yesalis CE, Hudak CJ. 1992. The epidemiologic model and the risk of legalized gambling: Where are we headed? Health Values 16:20-27