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Escape GamblingEscape Gamblers

Often, escape gamblers are described as responsible, caring, and nurturing. Commonly, they exhibit a reserved nature with a reluctance to confront.  Narcissism is generally not identified with escape gamblers; but low self esteem and a history of abuse may be present. Co-dependency, trauma, and/or clinical depression may often be issues with escape gamblers. Self-medication through drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and/or gambling may be experienced as a means of escape. Key attributes associated with this type of gambler include:

  • prefer games with anesthetizing, repetitive, and hypnotic effects: slot machines, video poker, keno, bingo, lottery
  • may gamble for relief or escape from psychological and emotional pain 
  • experience a sense of empowerment within an escape world that is free from the controlling influences felt at home and/or work
  • purposely choose to escape from their problems by gambling; gambling becomes solitary and hypnotic
  • an early big win is not necessarily the experience; instead social reasons usually introduce/attract escape gamblers to gambling
  • often are older, past thirty years of age; the individual may become addicted to gambling the first time he or she gambles and the progression of the disorder can quickly begin
  • may be reluctant to quit gambling for fear that they will not be able to confront the pain of outside pressures; a high sense of shame can develop
  • usually female but action gamblers may resort to the numbing effects of playing slot machines in order to escape the pain of personal destructiveness from action gambling   

Generally, escape gamblers enter the chasing phase of gambling rapidly. Desperation and hopelessness can come well within two or three years. They are more likely to seek treatment. If escape gamblers, in recovery, can achieve healthy means of empowerment (to replace gambling and other compulsive behaviors), their chances of successfully experiencing long term abstinence from gambling are good.


If you or someone in Indiana you know needs help with problem gambling, reach out – we’re here to help.

What Resources are Available?

National Problem Gambling Help Line
(800) 522-4700

The National Problem Gambling Help Line provides help to people with gambling problems and their families. Callers receive confidential, professional service from trained counselors. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free of charge.

Indiana Help Line
(800) 994-8448

Gambling Recovery Ministries
(812) 926-1052

Gamblers Anonymous (GA)

Gam-Anon: A peer-led support group, Gam-Anon provides a supportive environment for the spouses, relatives, or close friends of- problem gamblers to share their experiences. There is no membership fee.  A list of local meetings is available by calling the above Problem Gambling Help Lines.