The Link: Compulsive Gambling and Violence




Compulsive gambling, or gambling addiction, is not a financial problem. Nor is it the gambler’s problem. It’s the whole family’s problem. This is because when there is a compulsive gambler in the family, everyone in the family is affected.

Compulsive gambling has many negative effects on the person and his or her family. It can destroy careers, reputations, jobs, relationships, health, safety and security. Furthermore, compulsive gambling is linked to violent behavior.


Last June 2, a man reported to have a gambling addiction and was millions in debt, went to Resorts World Manila and burned down sections of the casino, resulting to over 30 civilians killed by suffocation. The gunman tried to steal casino chips and fired back against security and police personnel. before he retreated to a hotel room and reportedly committed suicide. (Image source:

The recent Resorts World attack is one example. Done by a suspect reported to have been addicted to gambling, with the attack resulting to almost 40 people killed due to smoke inhalation after the suspect burned down casino tables and slot machines, it shows how violent behavior and gambling addiction or compulsive gambling is linked.

Violence tied to compulsive gambling

In fact, a recent study in the UK and published in the journal Addiction shows that the most addicted gamblers are in fact the most prone to serious acts of violence. In the study, participants are pathological, problem, and even casual gamblers. They came from various socio-economic backgrounds and have different ages ranging between 18 and 64 years old. 80 percent of them admitted to committing acts of violence in the past five years.

Non-gamblers were also included in the study, and only 19 percent were involved in violence.

Furthermore, gambling was also associated with an increased risk for using weapons in acts of violence, and they were also at high risk for committing domestic violence.

However, it was not clear in the study whether the violence feeds off the gambling addiction, or the other way around.

Reach out for help

If you’re abused by a loved one who you suspect has a propensity for compulsive gambling or is indeed addicted to gambling, seek help. It’s important that you find help for yourself and for your loved one as well.

At Bridges of Hope, we also address behavioral addictions such as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling. Talk to us today: 09175098826.

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