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Is your love of gambling affecting your moral character?

To practice law in California, you must have good moral character. While there are many facets to having good moral character, your professional reputation may be easier to lose than you think. If you have a gambling problem, bar discipline may soon follow.

Provided you gamble legally, there is probably nothing inherently wrong with playing blackjack, putting money into slot machines or betting on your favorite sports teams. Still, to protect your law license, you should monitor yourself for signs of gambling addiction.

Signs of gambling disorder

Psychology Today describes gambling disorder as an uncontrollable urge to gamble regardless of the life consequences. Compulsive gambling usually does not happen overnight, though. Here are some indicators you may be struggling with gambling:

  • Having a mental preoccupation with gambling
  • Looking for ways to obtain money to continue gambling
  • Increasing the amounts of money you use to gamble
  • Trying to recover financial losses by gambling more
  • Feeling anxious when you are unable to gamble

Problems with your legal practice

If you become a compulsive gambler, it may not take long for you to have insufficient funds to feed your gambling addiction. While you may start by taking out traditional loans, eventually it may be tempting to borrow money from your client trust accounts. Doing so, of course, is one of the faster ways to lose your legal practice.

Spending too much time at the casino also may take you away from your job duties. If you cannot represent your clients effectively, you may be on the receiving end of a grievance. Therefore, it makes sense to seek help before you lose control.

Ultimately, if you are facing discipline because of a gambling issue, it is critical to explore your legal options as soon as possible.

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