Avoiding holiday stress and gambling problems

Jenna Hotaling, Finger Lakes PGRC
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 valued items and money.

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 to gamble. Gambling to cope with holiday stresses can lead to gambling problems. As mobile sports betting also becomes legal in New York State, it’s especially important to be aware of warning signs of problem gambling.

Here are some ways to avoid gambling-related issues:

  • 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 valued items, like money.
  • Develop a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend. If you overspend, turn your finances over to a trusted friend or family member, ending the opportunity to overspend. You can also set spending limits on your credit cards considered and bank accounts.
  • Before attending events, decide if they are safe. If friends and family gather for sporting events or card games, visit before or after these games occur.
  • 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. It’s also important not to gift these to youth, as exposure to gambling activities at a young age increases the likelihood of developing a gambling addiction later in life.

The Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center has a neutral stance on gambling and exists to raise awareness of problem gambling and connect individuals and loved ones to local, barrier-free treatment. If you or a loved one struggles with a gambling-related issue, contact the Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center at 585-351-2262 or email FingerLakesPGRC@nyproblemgambling.org.

Here’s to you and yours having a happy and healthy holiday season!