Letter: Holidays can harbor pitfalls of gambling

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The holidays can be a great time to connect with loved ones, but the anticipation and preparations for the holidays can bring stress. There are many ways to cope with holiday stress, and some people choose gambling. Gambling to cope with holiday stresses can lead to gambling problems. Here are some ways avoid gambling related problems:

• Know what activities are gambling. Gambling activities include the state lottery, slot machines, betting on sporting events, betting on card games or any other activity where someone can win or lose items of value, like money.

• Develop a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend. If you tend to overspend, turn your finances over to a trusted friend or family member, ending the opportunity to overspend. You can also set up limits on your charge cards and bank accounts.

• Prior to attending events, decide if they are safe. If friends and family gather for sporting events or card games, visit before or after these games take place.

• Remain mindful when giving gifts. Avoid gifting gambling related items such as lottery tickets. These gifts could cause someone struggling with gambling to have increased gambling related problems.

If you or a loved one are struggling with a gambling related issue, we, at the Central Problem Gambling Resource Center, are HERE TO HELP. Call us at (315) 413-4676. Here’s to you and yours having a happy and healthy holiday season.

Elizabeth Toomey

East Syracuse

Elizabeth Toomey is team leader for the Central Region Problem Gambling Resource Center

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