Gambling and Divorce

The money issue that no one wants to talk about is family income spent on gambling. Many people who are married to a gambler pull the plug on the marriage because it is the only way to prevent eventual financial ruin. The sad part in these cases is that frequently the marriage is “good” apart from one spouse’s gambling addiction.

Compulsive gambling among women is often called the hidden addiction. While men are considered “action” gamblers, it’s estimated that 95 percent of women prefer solitary options like playing slots and video poker for one main purpose.

“With women, we’re looking at more of wanting to escape, what to escape from, what is empty in their lives, what isn’t being met,” explains Susan Campion a local gambling counselor.

Lifestyle changes, loss and divorce are common reasons why women seek out gambling as a coping mechanism. The adrenaline high can quickly trigger the physical need to just keep gambling.

“It can be as short as six months. We rarely see that in other addictions or male population as much,” Campion says.

Indeed, in a 1999 survey of nearly 3,000 adults conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, problem and pathological gamblers reported divorce rates of 39.5 percent and 53.5 percent respectively, as compared with 29.9 percent in low-risk gamblers and 18.2 percent in non-gamblers.

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