I have actually heard this question quite often, so I literally had to write a text about it. To my ears it sounds stupid. Though, at the same time people ask “How do you recognize an alcoholic”. That tells me another about another problem that people have. They think that gambling is always a problem.
The idea behind that thought is insane, as if all the people who use alcohol, would have a problem with it. For example, ask yourself, do you think drinking a few pints during a week is a problem? Can you see it from someone´s face it they have a pint once in a while?
Same goes for gambling. If a person gambles responsibly, you will not see it from someone´s face for sure. It is impossible.
But, then there is the other side. There are people who cannot control their gambling. You might see them acting nervous somewhere, where they can place a bet. Sweating, shouting etc. You know how somebody acts if all their savings are in and the next one “will win”. However, at the same time these people have now moved to gambling inside their homes so you can´t really see them anymore.
If you see someone acting nervous on the streets, you cannot really tell if that is because gambling or because they have problems in their relationship.
So the answer to the question above is: You don´t. In the end, if you did, what would you do? We are not really treating our alcoholics with much of empathy anyway. Instead, we tend to despise them. Would that same apply to us, gamblers if people knew what our hobby is?
Help for addicts
If you, or someone close to you is suffering from gambling addiction, a help should be seeked. Head to begambleaware.org for more