Here at GambleXpert, we want you to enjoy online casinos safely and responsibly. It is important to be aware that gambling can be addictive if not done responsibly and within a controlled environment.
This can lead to behaviour that is harmful or has negative consequences on the player and those around them. Such behaviour includes the inability to stop spending a lot of time, money and energy on gambling, potentially causing problems for one’s personal, financial and even social well-being.
Why Do People Become Addicted to Gambling?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Just like any form of addiction, there are a lot of psychological, social and situational factors that contribute towards cases of gambling addiction.
Gambling normally comes with the expectation of winning, which then results in euphoric emotions in the case of a win, and distress when losing. However, the reason why one player becomes ‘hooked’ to these emotions when another player doesn’t is often due to differences in their psychological make-up or lives.
How To Recognise Problem Gambling?
Although officially classified as a ‘compulsive disorder’ gambling addiction in many ways is comparable to an addiction to substances. That’s why it’s essential to recognise a (potential) problem as early as possible to be able to offer or get help and prevent it from becoming worse. The signs of problem gambling can be:
- The person is constantly preoccupied with gambling or the (next) possibility to gamble;
- The person spends more and more time and more and more money on gambling;
- The person neglects work or study, social ties with friends and family;
- The person does everything to get money to gamble, including borrowing, cheating, stealing;
- The person often comes late to appointments, have unexplained absences for (longer) time-periods, calls in sick more than average, is secretive about his or her whereabouts;
- The person undergoes changes in personality, has mood swings, seems worried, agitated or irritated, depressed, behaves manipulative, controlling;
- The person’s finances are a mess.
Many websites about problem gaming and gambling addiction have their own lists of signs indicating a possible problem. Some of these websites, which you can find links to below, also offer a test by which a player can measure if a gambling problem has developed, is developing or might develop.
How to Prevent and Deal with Problem Gambling?
The ultimate way to completely prevent a gambling problem is, of course, to never play or bet at all. But regularly having fun while playing for real money in an online or land-based casino doesn’t mean you automatically run the risk of getting addicted to gaming. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of casino visitors and real-money gamers are perfectly capable of controlling their gaming habit, thus making sure casino gaming stays exactly what it should be: exciting and fun entertainment.
A way of ‘prevention’ could already be to take one of the self-tests available on the internet or read more about the possible signs of a gaming problem. This will make a player or his or her surroundings aware of the possible dangers of gaming and, at the same time, conscious about ‘what to pay attention to’ to recognise a possible problem.
In case a person is suspected by his or her friends, families or colleagues to have a gambling problem, it’s absolutely necessary that they aren’t condemned, judged or confronted with feelings of anger, betrayal, disappointment et cetera. The best way to help is to find them professional help (see the links below).
Problem gambling is an extremely complex matter and a problematic gamblers’ support network has to learn how to deal with the gambler’s behaviour. Besides this, many seemingly obvious and well-meant interventions of family and friends to help the addicted loved-one might turn out to have a disastrous effect and not only maintain the problem, but sometimes even make it worse for all involved parties. Therefore, it’s best to immediately get professional counselling.
To help players keep their casino gaming and betting experiences fun and exciting and avoid any negative ‘side effects’ the concept of ‘Responsible Gaming’ was developed.
Responsible Gaming is a ‘code of conduct’ to which gaming and betting operators need to comply to uphold the highest standards of safety, reliability, player protection, fair gaming, information privacy, customer support et cetera.
Most online casinos are more than willing to honour the principles of Responsible Gaming as it’s in their interest to cater to ‘healthy’ and therefore returning players.
On the other hand, Responsible Gaming also provides a ‘code of conduct’ for players, which is usually summarised in a set of ‘tips’.
Tips for Responsible Gaming
Tips that can help to keep casino gaming and betting fun are:
- Set limits for the time and the money you want to spend on gaming and stick to it;
- Accept losses as the cost for your casino gaming entertainment;
- Never keep on playing to make up for losses (‘chasing losses’);
- Never borrow money to keep on gaming;
- Only play with money you can afford to lose;
- Never let gaming interfere with commitments or relationships;
- Don’t gamble while under influence or when emotionally unstable.
Professional Help for Problematic Gamers and Their Environment
There are several websites and organisations that provide more information about problem gambling and / or offer professional help for players with a gambling problem and their friends/family.
Find links to prominent responsible gaming sites below:
GamCare: GamCare is probably one of the best and renowned organisations dedicated to (resolving) problem gaming and providing assistance to problematic gamblers and their ‘entourage’. The independent charity is UK based.
Gambling Therapy: The online section of the British Gordon Moody Association aimed at problematic gamblers from outside the UK and with a website available in 29 languages.
NCPG-US: The website of the National Council for Problem Gambling (NCPG) of the United States of America. The site offers various self-assessment tests.
Australian Problem Gambling
Australian National Problem Gambling Portal: Official National portal of the Australian Government regarding problem gambling issues with risk assessment tests, online self help tools, Live Chat, forums et cetera.
Gamblers Anonymous: The website of self-help group Gamblers Anonymous with all information about this organisation and anonymous help.
Gam-Anon : The website of Gam-Anon, the support and self help group for family and friends of problematic gamblers (linked to Gamblers Anonymous).