I Have a Gambling Problem

explanatory Essay
2235 words
2235 words

I Have a Gambling Problem

Professor’s comment: This student’s essay is well researched, strongly analytical, and seriously personal. But the essay did not begin as a personal essay—far from it— from major rewriting emerged this fascinating and very effective essay, in which social and personal analysis intertwine.

Hi, my name is ______ and this is my first GamAnon meeting. I am nineteen years old, and I started gambling in junior high, $5 bets with friends. In high school, craps and deuces were the craze. The teachers had no idea. Then I started playing the lottery, hoping to hit the jackpot. Age never really mattered since the vendor never asked to see ID. In my first year of college, I started wagering on sporting events through an online sports book. It was completely legal, even though I was only 18 years old. I have always loved sports and having money on a game made it even more fun, more exciting. At first, it was only $25 or $50 a game, but then things got out of control: I was laying hundreds of dollars on single games. It wasn’t fun anymore. My bank account dwindled from four figures to two. My GPA was half my high school 4.0+. I knew I had a problem, but I just couldn’t stop, no matter how hard I tried. That’s why I’m here today. I need help.

I never thought that a friendly wager could lead to such self-destructive behavior. Luckily, I recognized that I had a gambling problem and sought help, unlike the millions of other pathological gamblers who allow their problems to worsen, some eventually becoming involved with drugs, alcohol, and crime (Lesieur 43). Annually, Americans legally wager over five hundred billion dollars—more than they spend on groceries—and illegally bet hundreds of billions more (Ren...

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...ychological Reports 67 (1990): 907-912.

Griffiths, Mark. Adolescent Gambling. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Koughan, Martin. “Easy Money.” Mother Jones. July 1997: 32-37.

Layden, Tim. “Bettor Education.” Sports Illustrated. April 3, 1995: 68-83.

Lesieur, Henry R. “Compulsive Gambling.” Society. May 1992: 43-50.

McGowan, Richard. State Lotteries and Legalized Gambling. Westport: Quorum, 1994.

McGraw, Dan. “The National Bet: Laying an Illegal Wager Has Never Been Easier.” U.S. News and World Report. April 7, 1997: 50-56.

Reno, Paul. “The Diceman Cometh.” Policy Review 76 (1996): 40-46.

Sandel, Michael J. “Bad Bet.” New Republic 216 (1997): 27.

Simon, Paul. “The Destructive Side of Gambling Mania.” St. Louis Journalism Review 26 (1995): 8-11.

Snyder, R.J. “Gambling Swindles and Victims.” Journal of Gambling Behavior 2 (1986): 50-57.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains mcgraw, dan, "the national bet: laying an illegal wager has never been easier."
  • Opines that simon, paul, "the destructive side of gambling mania." st. louis journalism review 26: 8-11.
  • Explains how the student's essay is well-researched, strongly analytical, and seriously personal, but social and personal analysis intertwine.
  • Explains that pathological gamblers are defined by the american psychiatric association as "chronic and progressive failure to resist impulses to gamble"
  • Explains that gambling has existed since the beginning of time, with the greeks telling myths about the seductiveness of gambling, while the romans placed wagers on the fifty chariot races.
  • Explains that traditional theories attribute pathological gambling behavior to the gambler's personal psychological factors.
  • Explains that the growth of pathological gambling after 1974 is directly related to social changes. the most common form of gambling allowed is the state-run lottery.
  • Explains how they were "pulled" towards gambling, finding hope in playing the lottery, aroused by the excitement of watching a game they wagered on.
  • Explains the american psychiatric association's diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.
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