The current economic crisis is encouraging an increase in pathological gambling in casinos, according to Portuguese psychologists.
At a time when most people are tightening their belts and cutting their cloths accordingly with the downturn, those with addictive and compulsive personalities are more likely to resort to gaming tables in the mistaken belief they can gamble their way out of the crisis.
Psychologist Pedro Hubert, a specialist in this kind of addiction, says that people predisposed to gambling and other addictions mistakenly believe that if they just place one more bet they’ll strike it lucky and solve all their financial problems.
Unemployment, bankruptcy and mounting debts can all lead to people to head for the roulette and card tables even though in reality the odds are stacked heavily against them.
Tips on how to deal with the problem have been posted by another gambling specialist Luís Rebordão, who has developed the site www.jogo-responsavel.pt and who once worked for a leading Portuguese casino.
There is no exact data available in Portugal for gambling as a problem mainly because gamblers, like other addicts, hide their problem and deceive themselves to the extent of what most specialists now say is a mental illness.
However, studies have estimated that as many as 100,000 people in Portugal either suffer or have suffered from the problem.
According to Professor Pedro Hubert, the typical personality traits of the gambler can include egocentrism, megalomania, the desire for power and competitiveness.