For many people, gambling is fun and harmless, but it can become a big problem. This kind of compulsive behavior is often called “problem gambling.” An addiction to gambling is a progressive addiction that can have many negative psychological, physical, and social repercussions. It is classified as an impulse control disorder. Problem gambling is harmful to physical and psychological health. People living with this addiction may suffer from depression, migraine, distress, bowel problems, and other anxiety-related issues. As with other addictions, the outcome of gambling can lead to feelings of discouragement and helplessness.
In some cases, this can lead to suicide attempts. The rate of gambling problems has increased worldwide in recent years. Due to its harmful consequences, gambling addiction has become a major public health problem in many countries.
Gambling is not a financial issue, but an emotional problem that has financial consequences. This also affects the way the person with the disease is connected with his family and friends. For example, they may miss important family events or lose their jobs. Anyone affected by gambling can ask, “Can I stop if I want to stop?” If the answer is “no I can’t,” it is important to ask for help. This article contain a very useful information that will help you with gambling addiction like reasons for gambling, the common signs of gambling addiction, Stages of the gambling addiction, tips how to avoid addiction, preventive measures, gambling sites’ responsibility, underage gambling and how to protect children, where to get help with gambling addiction, etc.
MAIN REASONS OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
What makes someone gamble is not well understood. Like many problems, problem gambling can result from a combination of biological, genetic, and environmental factors.
The biological causes of gambling addiction encompass each person’s unique physiology and genetics. First, people differ in the extent to which they enjoy playing as a form of entertainment. Some people can enjoy this form of entertainment so much that it becomes very tempting and difficult to resist. Other people would not experience similar difficulty. This is because they do not participate in the same degree of pleasure. Likewise, the ability to moderate impulsive desires with rational thinking is a brain function that varies between people. Some people may have a reduced ability to resist certain types of impulses. Thus, these people were more at risk of developing an addiction because of their genetic vulnerability.
Interestingly, the normal functioning of the human brain and chemistry brain makes people vulnerable to addiction. Healthy chemistry and brain function motivate us to repeat pleasant behaviors. From an anthropological point of view, this function guaranteed that we adopted behaviors that guaranteed our survival, such as eating and having sex. Unfortunately, it also makes humans vulnerable to developing addictions that are harmful to enjoyable activities.
Availability Of Online And Offline Gaming Opportunities
Internet gambling ( a term widely interchangeable with interactive distance and online games) refers to the variety of betting and gaming activities offered by Internet-enabled devices, including computers, mobile and smartphones, tablets, and digital TV. This is also consistent with the theory that the Internet is not inherently addictive, but that individual variables interact with gambling behavior to determine the level of involvement and subsequent problems. Therefore, a simplified dichotomy between Internet games and offline games is insufficient to conceptualize the relationship between Internet gambling and related problems. This mode of play, facilitated by technological progress, greater availability of the Internet, and the possession of Internet-compatible devices, is not a separate type of gaming activity.
On the contrary, it is a mode of access distinct from personal gaming on land or from land sales outlets and telephone bets. As such, it is a largely automated activity that can be done privately, anytime, anywhere, using broadband internet connections, allowing quick bets and notification the results. The possibility of playing big bets, continuous games, quick feedback, and instant and easy access to a large number of betting options has raised fears that gambling on the Internet may contribute to excessive gambling.
Psychology also helps to understand the many causes of gambling addiction. Psychological research has helped to understand why people repeat certain activities, even when the repetition of these activities has harmful consequences. Indeed, people learn to anticipate certain benefits of drug addiction, even if they are harmful. These benefits may include:
- Reduction of stress.
- Boredom relief.
- Pleasant sensations.
- Coping with negative feelings or situations.
- It implies the advantage of avoiding withdrawal symptoms.
People have different skills and abilities to deal with unpleasant emotions or circumstances. When people have poor coping skills, they are more vulnerable to gambling addiction. Many addicts do not have enough coping tools in their toolboxes. They rely too much on what they have – their addiction. Drug addiction offers a temporary but ultimately ineffective way of dealing with life’s problems. Likewise, people have different degrees of stress and different skills to reduce stress. People with high stress, who lack the skills to reduce stress, are also more vulnerable to addiction.
COMMON SIGNS OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
The signs and symptoms of problem gambling (a disorder of the game) include:
- Being preoccupied with gambling, constantly planning how to get more money to play.
- Need to play with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill.
- Trying to control, reduce or stop playing, to no avail.
- Feeling restless or angry when trying to cut back.
- Play to escape from problems or alleviate feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.
- Try to recover lost money, bet more (chase losses).
- Lie to family members or close friends to hide the extent of your game.
- Endanger or lose important relationships, jobs, studies or work opportunities due to gambling.
- Use theft or fraud to get money for games.
- Ask others to save you from financial problems because you are betting money.
Unlike most casual gamblers who stop when they lose or set a loss limit, people with problem gambling are forced to keep playing to get their money back, a pattern that is becoming increasingly destructive with time. Some people with a gambling problem may have a remission when they play less or not for some time. However, without treatment, remission is usually not permanent.
STAGES OF GAMBLING ADDICTION
Gambling addiction does not happen overnight. The rate of progression varies considerably, and certain types of gamblers (especially those who play “skill” games of chance) may gamble for years, even decades, before becoming pathological in their addiction. Other players, especially those who play to escape or who play games such as slot machines or video poker terminals, can progress much faster.
- Step 1 – The winning step. The activity of the game increases in frequency. The game can still occur only at intervals, but there is a reduction in the time between game sessions. The person begins to attach importance to the game as an activity of life. Gambling is still considered a completely positive and fun activity. The player enjoys the euphoria or escapes that the game offers. Problem gamblers often enjoy a winning streak or a single big win – victories that help justify a further increase in gaming behavior. The person begins to think of himself as a player and usually tells game stories. During winning periods, the player may begin to believe that he has a special talent or ability as a player. The player has no real game problems during the winning phase. Gambling is considered a positive experience, and family and friends are rarely troubled with it. The duration of the winning phase which can vary considerably. Some people can bet on the track for many years in the winning phase, while some video terminal players can go through this phase in just a few weeks.
- Step 2 – The losing step. The frequency of the game increases. The game can become ritualized. Tolerance develops; players must bet more to experience the same euphoria. Losing players often have to bet more to experience the same effects. Bettors start chasing losses, feeling the need to recover losses from the game as soon as possible. We spend more free time playing. Family life and work can start to suffer from neglect. The player begins to request loans from friends or family or can take out bank or credit card loans. The player can begin to hide the extent of the game from others. Most gamers start to feel anxious or depressed because of their financial situation. The player may try to leave but eventually fails. The player often denies, even to himself, that gambling is a problem and still believes that he can manage the game.
- Step 3 – The phase of despair. Financial pressures are increasing. The player can start selling his property or even commit criminal acts to obtain money to play. Depression and anxiety are increasing. Sleep can be affected, and health can suffer. The player is increasingly isolated from his loved ones. During the desperation phase, about 20% attempt suicide, and almost everyone considers it – 60% will commit a crime, and 20% will be arrested for their criminal activities. Although the sometimes long winning phase seems harmless on the surface, it is during this phase that intervention and treatment are best. Addicts can achieve remission with a treatment at any stage of drug use, but as with all addictions, plus the earlier treatment begins, the better the prognosis.
TIPS TO AVOID GAMBLING ADDICTION
Are you nervous, sick, and distressed when you are not playing? You must change your gambling habits immediately. Otherwise, you may become addicted to gambling. Some tips to avoid playing and what else can you do:
- Decide in advance the amount of money you will spend on gambling. In order not to exceed the value, do not take extra money with you and leave all your credit cards at home.
- Decide in advance how much time you will spend on the game. Life is not just about playing. Go out and find your friends or try to make new friends.
- Keep your promises. Don’t break them just because you want to keep playing.
- Remember that the odds are always the player again! The chances of losing are always greater than those of winning. Gaming companies will always win in the end. Keep track of your losses. No system can guarantee victory.
- If you win, stop playing.
- Remember that the more you play, the more you risk losing.
- Do not try to chase your losses.
- Do not borrow money to continue playing.
- Avoid places with game machines.
- If you can’t do it alone, get voluntary self-exclusion from your play location.
- Make a list of some reasons why you shouldn’t bet and watch when you feel like playing.
- Close the game sites on your computer.
- If you can’t do it yourself, call a friend and try to get help.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO TAKE TO AVOID BECOMING GAMBLING ADDICT
Players who do not feel addicted to the game should introduce voluntary exclusion periods. However, in serious cases of gambling, players should follow the advice of special organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous or GamCare. However, it is important to prevent rather than cure, and many online casinos have a list of ways to avoid gambling problems. They are very important, and all players should be aware of them. Some of the preventive measures are listed below:
- You must set a daily, weekly and monthly limit before you start playing;
- You must establish the specific number of hours he/she wishes to spend in the game;
- The main objective of the game for the player must be linked to pleasure and not to the payment of financial obligations;
- You must avoid borrowing money to play;
- You should be aware of choosing the option to leave the casino when you win and not to wait for it to lose all of its credits;
- You should know that games on betting sites are only games of chance and do not guarantee winnings.
GAMBLING SITE RESPONSIBILITY
Any business is directly responsible for its activities and must ensure that the principles of responsible gambling are respected and understood by all parties, from regulators and platform providers to providers and players of casino games. At the same time, any platform provider must ensure that its software products are integrated into a comprehensive management system that provides a safe and fair gaming experience. This means that although platform providers are not in direct contact with end-users, they are still subject to moral and legal obligations to provide online operators with the means and tools necessary to control:
- Gambling addiction, setting betting limits and self-exclusion tools;
- Minor betting problems, verification of the age of the players;
- Guarantee the confidentiality and security of data by adding security tools against online threats and criminal activity;
- Provide a safe gaming environment for players by integrating software monitoring features.
As we know that all players in the gaming industry are responsible for promoting an ethical gaming activity, we understand that the gaming software is aimed at players who need to see these activities as a means of loosening. To this end, the gaming website can provide the following recommendations to players:
- Play activities must be fun. This is why online sites offer so much diversity in sportsbooks and online casinos.
- Online games should not be seen as an easy way to make money.
- Players must not bet money that they cannot lose. To avoid losing a lot of money, make sure that the online site contains a mechanism that allows you to define the maximum amount of money to be placed on a bet in a given period.
- Check and limit your time on online support. How much of your time do you spend online on gambling sites? If you lose more than a few hours online each day, it’s probably time to take a break from this activity for a while.
- Check and limit your gains and losses online. Given that most gambling activities contain some random factor, players must check how much they earn and how much they lose. If they notice a negative frequency, they must decide if the play activities suit them. If they decide it’s time to take a break, players can use the “Auto-exclusion” option to close the account for a period (6 months, one year, two years, etc.).
- If you are having problems with online gambling, firmly think that you should contact a group or specialized organization that can provide the necessary support.
UNDERAGE GAMBLING AND HOW TO PROTECT CHILDREN
Underage gambling is something that all online gambling sites take very seriously. Most countries prohibit play by people under the age of 18. If you know a minor who is playing online, it is strongly encouraged to intervene, and you must be a guide throughout this process. We ask you to intervene not only because gambling for minors is illegal, but also because exposure to gambling at a young age can put the minor at serious risk of developing an addiction to gambling later in life. Gambling is highly regulated, whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, using a slot machine, or playing in a casino. Usually, the game is for adults only. Children may not be able to enter the casino. If a minor is found guilty of minor gambling, he will receive a criminal charge, which will be part of his criminal record. In some states, your parents can also be charged with a crime.
PREVENTION OF UNDERAGE GAMBLING
The prevention of games for minors is one of the most important aspects of responsible gambling, and it should be emphasized that people who have not reached the legal age (18 or 21 years old) should not play with real money. Online operators, in turn, must take all necessary measures to ensure that minors’ gaming activities do not take place on their websites and that the laws that protect minors in their specific jurisdictions are observed.
Informing the operator that a minor can use your service is an important step. It is important to provide the operator with as much information as possible, as this will help them locate the account and take action. Keep in mind that operators are prohibited by law from providing customer account information, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide information. After receiving the information, most operators will act quickly to verify the person’s age by requesting some form of a photo ID and may even restrict access to the account until this process is complete.
Operators must present a clear registration process for all players and the mandatory verification steps to be followed to guarantee the age of the players.
At the same time, it is recommended that parents monitor and take all necessary means to prevent access by installing applications and parental control programs on their devices. There is software that will allow you, as parents, to restrict your children’s access to online casinos. This robust solution will serve as a protective layer between your children and online play, and this will help you feel comfortable while you contact the operator of your child could have played.
WHERE TO GET HELP FOR GAMBLING ADDICTION
- GamCare is the leading authorities providing advice, counseling, and practical help in dealing with the social impact of gaming activities in the UK. They can be contacted using their helpline. Residents outside the UK can also contact GamCare for more details on international support organizations.
- Gamblers Anonymous is a brotherhood of men and women who have come together to combat the danger of gambling and are ready to help problem gamblers do the same. There are several regional exchanges around the world. The play therapy provides support and advice to anyone affected by gambling. Members of the therapy team in the game operate in locations in the UK and abroad.
- National Problem Gambling Clinic. If you live in England or Wales, are 16 years of age or older, and have complex gambling problems, you can visit the NHS Specialized Clinic for problem gamblers.
- Gordon Moody Association offers residential courses for men and women with gambling problems.
ORGANIZATIONS THAT WILL HELP WITH YOUR DEBTS
Identifying the exact moment when you overcame your debts can be tricky. But if you think you will never repay your loans without a dramatic change in circumstances, you may be stuck in a bad situation. You may need to seek outside help, and this means paying attention to avoid obscure companies that promise to free you of your debt quickly and painlessly. Consider using the resources of these organizations to make a financial turnaround. The list below is the organization that can help you with debts.
- Debt Advice Foundation – is a national debt education and counseling charity that offers free and confidential support and advice to everyone involved in loans, credit, and debt. As a leveraged charity, you can be sure that the advice they offer is unbiased and based only on what works best for you.
- Debt Support Trust – is a registered charity, which provides debt counseling and support to people struggling to manage their debts. They understand that being in debt can be a difficult experience, so they have qualified volunteers and qualified consultants that are on hand to provide personalized and attentive advice on debt.
- National Debt Line – is a free telephone counseling service for people in England, Wales, and Scotland. They run a debt support line, and their website offers free solutions, including debt management plans.
- Step Change – A debt management plan (DMP) helps you manage your debts and pay them off at a more affordable rate by making reduced monthly payments. DMP Charity from StepChange Debit is free.
- GambleAware – is the United Kingdom’s leading charity committed to reducing gambling-related harm. GambleAware is an independent national charity funded by donations from the gaming industry, GambleAware funds education, prevention services, and treatment and commission research to broaden the public’s understanding of gambling-related harm. The goal is to prevent people from having gambling problems and to ensure that those who develop problems receive treatment and support fast and efficient.
- Gamble Therapy – organizes regular groups on a variety of topics, both for problem gamblers and their friends and family. You do not have to be the fastest or the best typist in the world; Connect to a group to feel welcome and accepted by your colleagues and representatives of Gambling Therapy. They have recovery and support groups that are led by trained and experienced support workers and peer-led and friendly groups.
- Gamblers Anonymous Ireland – is an association of men and women who share their experiences, their strengths, and their hopes of being able to solve their common problem and help others recover from a gambling problem. The desire to stop playing is the only requirement for membership.
- Irish: Rutland Centre – Their work in the treatment of addictions is based on solid scientific research and strict monitoring of patients, and our experience is synonymous with success. Thanks to an integrative approach, they have the best team available to guide you throughout the treatment. Here you will offer the best chance for a lasting cure for addiction.
- Problem Gambling – currently offers phone/email support and part-time damage prevention workshops (25 hours per week). The gambling industry does not fund them. According to the latest report on gambling in Ireland, it is estimated that between 28,000 and 40,000 people suffer from a gambling disorder. This website was created to provide independent support and resources for anyone whose life has been adversely affected by problem gambling.