It's an addiction that experts say goes unnoticed.
As Sunday kicks off National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, Marsha, who asked we not use her last name, says she'll never forget when she lost control.
"It ruins your whole life," she says.
Marsha says it started off small with a trip to a casino here and there.
"I worked late and you know, you'd stay up awhile, and you couldn't go to sleep so you go to the casino for awhile and play for a little bit and go home," she adds.
But then those trips became more common.
"After I think we went through $80,000 in one year," she explains.
Now, she's in recovery.
"I decided I really have a problem here and I need to resolve this," says Marsha. "It was totally out of control."
And Marsha's not alone. Organizers want to educate the community and teach them that this is a disease; a disease that can easily be overlooked.
"You can't give them a breathalyzer test," says Nicholas Foss, Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services. "It goes completely undetected. So a lot of the conventional means we have no to detect addiction in conventional ways, we can't do that with gambling."
Looking back, Marsha says she just wishes she got help sooner.
"That's the problem you have to admit - you do have a problem. Try to get over the shamefulness and the guilty and try to recover their life and try to get your life back."
Counselors say if you think you have a problem call 1-800-bets-off for immediate assistance because that's one of the best ways to address the problem head on.
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