Quit while you’re ahead.

If you gamble and somehow find yourself “up,” the practical thing to do would be to walk away. If you’re a competitive athlete, do you quit after you win? No, you don’t. If you win locally, you go to regionals. You win regionals, you go to state. Go to state, try for the national title. Some athletes may even look to the Olympics. No win is ever big enough; you always strive for the next title. If you gamble like an athlete, you will not walk away after a win. Get a full house, then you want a straight flush. You get the point. Gambling like an athlete means you keep playing long after you’ve lost your winnings. We’ve all heard the saying “keep your eye on the prize.” That is what athletes do. But when they attain that prize, they’re looking ahead to the next prize. And if they end up winning at the highest level of their sport, the goal often then becomes to do it again, become a 2-time or 3-time World Champ or gold medalist. This is just one reason being a good athlete can lead to being a bad gambler. Stay tuned for the next post for more.

What makes a good athlete makes a bad gambler.

Thanks for visiting this blog. My experience in competitive sports (amateur boxing) and my passion for preventing and treating problem gambling converge here. Periodically, I will highlight a different characteristic of competitive athletes, or aspect of competitive sports. These traits and concepts, I believe, are adaptive in one setting, but mal-adaptive in another. That is, what works in the ring, on the field, or on the course doesn’t work out so well at a poker table, slot machine, or in sports betting. I welcome comments and feedback. It’s an important time for athletes and problem gambling counselors/advocates. The repealing of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) is opening up many states to legalized sports wagering. It makes sense, then, to discuss the potential impact on athletes, a group already at increased risk for problem gambling. Check out Nicasa’s site http://www.safersportsbetting.com to see strategies for non-disordered gambling, learn the signs of a potential problem, and explore the services we have to help. Free or low-cost gambling counseling is available at sites throughout Lake County, IL. Free workshops on athletes and gambling, as well as on gambling disorder in general, are available for any interested group. E-mail gamblingservices@nicasa.org to connect to counseling or inquire about a free workshop.

“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.” -Muhammad Ali 1942-2016