Online gambling is one of the most popular forms of entertainment, enabling players to make winnings while playing fun and high-quality games. While the key remains to play for fun even if the real money is involved, there are plenty of players who lose their focus along the way. For these players, problem gambling is a reality, and it is a serious issue that needs to be handled and cured sooner rather than later.
In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need on problem gambling and how to steer clear of it or get help for it. Online gambling can be fun, but it can also destroy you if you don’t take it in the right way. With this guide to help, you’ll be ready to play the best casino games from top providers without running into a problem.
Problem Gambling, also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is when a player has the urge to gamble non-stop no matter how harmful it can be. They ignore the negative consequence and can’t stop themselves from taking one more spin or being dealt one more hand. The main thing that defines problem gambling is when gambling itself becomes a harmful activity for the player or others connected to the player.
First and foremost, gambling is supposed to be about fun and should never ever become an obsessive compulsion. Gambling is definitely a problem if it starts getting in the way of your work, school or life activities in general. If it is harmful mentally, physically or financially and causes problems between you and those closest to you, it is definitely considered a problem. A gambling problem gets worse as time goes by, but luckily there are ways to spot a gambling problem and stop it before it can get worse.
There are a few ways to identify if you or someone you know is developing a gambling problem.
If someone starts developing a gambling problem, they tend to lie to the people closest to them, including their family, spouses, friends and co-workers. They lie about the amount of time and money they spend on their gambling habit.
One of the main danger signs is when someone starts borrowing or even stealing money to feed their gambling addiction. Many gamblers with a problem don’t know how to stop and like any other addict, they will do everything necessary to continue their habit. If someone starts borrowing irregular amounts of money on a frequent basis, or you notice things or money disappearing whenever they’re around, it might be time to get them some help.
When a gambling problem occurs, it is nearly impossible for the player to stop participating in gambling. They will become aggressive or depressed or experience crazy mood swings when attempting to stop.
Someone with a gambling problem will often start withdrawing from society because of their obsession with gambling. If they aren’t playing, they will constantly be thinking of gambling. They will start slacking at work, at home and in all other areas of their life.
Another tell-tale sign of gambling addiction is when someone constantly tries to win back money that they’ve lost. They will keep playing in the hope of making wins that will cover the losses they’ve had in previous game rounds. One of their main mottoes is generally that they will stop playing as soon as they’ve hit a big win.
The first thing a problem gambler will do when confronted with the problem is trying to convince you that there is no problem. They will often explain they are in control and know what they are doing, but if they show any of the above mentioned signs or symptoms, then the chances are they are lying, and they are in desperate need of help.
Like any other addiction problem, gambling is very serious. It can cause extreme damage and lead to the addict losing their jobs, friends, family and everything else that they hold dear. It’s not easy to deal with a problem gambler, but it is definitely worth the effort. With the right approach, these players can be helped, cured and be back to normal in no time.
The first thing you need to do when you suspect someone you love of having a gambling addiction is to talk to them. Much as with any other addiction, the choice of getting help ultimately remains theirs. You, as a loved one, partner or friend, can talk to them and encourage them to get the help they need. When talking to them, it is of utmost importance to remember that while you want them to get help immediately, they might not be ready to take the leap just yet. Don’t force them, as this can only cause a further spiral deeper into their addiction.
Be supportive, understanding, and, most important of all, non-judgemental. When someone feels attacked or under pressure, it might cause them to withdraw instead of listening. If they feel supported and cared for, chances are they might see clarity.
Some problem gamblers might be relieved that someone has noted and will talk about it and be open to getting help. Others might become defensive or even aggressive because they are ashamed. Instead of taking offence, it is important to remain calm and loving and to remind them that you care. If they insist they don’t have a problem and attempt to end the conversation, the best thing to do would be the leave it but end with some information on where they can get help.
It’s always easier to help someone else with a problem than it is to confront your own problems and take care of them. If you fear that you might be developing or already have a gambling problem, then here are some tips and tricks to deal with it.
From the symptoms listed earlier, it is relatively easy to spot if you are developing a problem. The first step will be to admit you might have a problem and recognize the signs thereof. Some of the signs include taking bigger gambling risks and getting a thrill from it, but more importantly, using gambling as a means of escape from reality, problems or negativity.
Once you’ve admitted to the problem, it is time to accept the consequences. This includes problems with your relationships, finances, work and health. The best thing would be to write down all the problems that have appeared in your life ever since you started gambling.
Problem gambling often leads to depression, anxiety, aggression, suicidal thoughts, relationship issues, and often stress-related illnesses. Be aware of these, and note how many of these you’ve experienced in your time as a gambler.
Keep a journal on all the things that lead you towards gambling, whether they are thoughts, feelings, situations or the behaviour of others. By finding the triggers, you can learn to find alternative ways to deal with them instead of opting to gamble. Find a new hobby or activity to keep you busy that does not involve any form of gambling.
Often we believe that we are alone and that nobody is aware of the problem or willing to help us. If you make an effort to talk to your loved ones and share your problem, this might help mend the damage the addiction has caused in your relationships, while providing you with a much-needed support group. It is always easier to take control of addiction when there is a solid support team by your side. Visit a helpline or website of professionals that deal with gambling addictions, and allow them to help you overcome the addiction.
Here are some more important guides that will help you understand how to stay safe and how to properly choose secure online gambling sites:
Online gambling is, first and foremost, about fun. Scoring cash winnings is fun, but it should never be the drive behind your gameplay, as this is an addiction waiting to happen. Most of the top-rated online casinos have preventative measures in place which they implement when noticing a gambling addiction, but they also provide ways for you to stay in control of your gameplay and keep addiction at bay.
If you feel that you are already developing a problem, you can make use of the self-exclusion option most online casinos offer. There are a few simple steps to follow which will help you lock your account for a certain time period. Your account will only be available again after the time period you selected is over. If you’re in the danger zone, it would be wise to close your account permanently.
There are a few rules to implement and follow when taking part in online gambling.
1. Do it for the entertainment
This cannot be repeated often enough: always make sure you are gambling for the fun of it. Whenever you feel it becomes something other than a fun way to pass the time, it might be time to take a break.
2. Money matters
When it comes to losses, treat these as the cost for your entertainment. When you win, view this as a bonus and not an excuse to bet more or play longer.
3. Set a time limit
Before you start playing for the day, make sure you set a time limit for yourself. Once the time is done, make sure you log out instead of trying to play another 5 minutes. Remain in control by sticking to the times you’ve allocated for gambling, and do something immediately afterwards that will get your mind off playing.
Most online casinos have a time limit function that you can set before you start playing, to help you stay aware of the time and stop when the time is done. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to control yourself, make use of this function.
4. Set a budget
It is very important not just for your financial wellbeing but your general health that you create a budget. Work out how much you can afford to lose on gambling and how much you are willing to spend. Whatever you do, don’t go over that budget. If the money is gone it is gone.
The majority of online casinos have account limit settings that you can use to control your spending for the week or month. You can contact the customer service centre and provide them with the information on how much you want to spend, and ask them to set the deposit limit for you. If you should get to a point where you are not in control and want to go over your budget, they will help prevent this from happening.
5. Acknowledge that losing is a reality
The majority of online casino games are luck-based, and in most cases, the odds are against you. If you play knowing you will lose, this will help you accept it quicker instead of using it as a motive to keep playing and lose even more.
There is no beating the odds. Winnings are completely random and can’t be forced or obtained from just one more spin. If you’re experiencing an unlucky gaming session it would be best to call it quits and try again another day.
6. Know the signs
Go through the list of gambling addiction signs listed earlier in the guide and keep them in mind. You know what the signs are, you know how to implement self-help steps in stopping the gaming addiction, and you can always come back to this article to follow the steps or contact any of the numbers listed for your region.
7. Ban credit gambling
The easiest way to remain in control of your gameplay and your finances is to decide from the get-go not to play on credit. If you have to get into debt to play, then it’s not worth it. Always stick to your budget, and avoid getting into debt just so you can have one more spin.
8. Create a balance
While gambling is fun and one of the biggest forms of entertainment, it shouldn’t be your main focus. Fill your life with other fun activities and stay connected at work, home and with friends. Don’t ever cancel plans with anyone just to get another hour of gambling in. When there is balance it’s easier to prevent a possible gambling problem from developing.
9. Don’t chase your losses
It’s been said before, but this is a point that needs to be repeated over and over again. If you’ve had a bad run, don’t try to continue gambling to make up for the losses. Take a breather and do something else. You’ll only end up losing more if you continue to chase your losses.
10. Don’t make it a habit
Gambling is about fun and entertainment, it is not the answer to a bad day. Make sure that when you are playing it is for the purpose of enjoyment and not out of necessity. Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with your issues, whether they are physical or emotional.
Make use of the account and time limit settings provided by most online casinos to prevent possible gambling addiction. Not all gamblers become addicted, but those who don’t do it the right way tend towards addiction. Stick with these 10 rules and you’ll have a good time without doing damage to any other part of your life.
Each region has its own gambling addiction helpline that is open most hours of the day. Below is a list of sites and numbers to phone, based on your region. Whether you make use of it for yourself or for someone you love, it will definitely change your life for the better. Gambling, much like any other addiction, is not something to play with or be taken lightly.
Contact the following organisations for more information:
Tel: 0808 8020 133
Tel: 0808 8020 133
Christian Centre for Gambling Rehabilitation
Tel: 020 7833 8626
Tel: 718 352 1671
Tel: 0808 8020 133
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