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Play Safe

Like any pastime, gambling can be a source of fun and entertainment her you will find the major signs of gambling addiction, in addition to offering advice on how to recognize and deal with addictive behaviour. I will also explore the role of the internet in relation to gambling, and how to effectively manage your time online.

Gambling problems

Although a great number of gambling addicts may realise they have a problem, the impulse to recreate the ecstasy of winning is infinitely more powerful. Addiction is most often associated with substances such as alcohol, nicotine and various other prescription or illegal drugs. On a very basic level it can be attached to any activity or substance that is consumed or carried out to an unhealthy level. Addictive activities include shopping, eating, video gaming or even competitive sport. It also comes in the form of month-long gambling binges in front of a computer into the early hours of the morning.

Real-life gambling addictions

Becoming an addict is not a conscious decision. It can be caused by a number of different factors, including genetic vulnerability, social pressures, personality characteristics and psychiatric problems. In a lot of cases, it starts with one seemingly harmless action. In the case of gambling, this could be placing a small bet on a winning team.    

Knowing when to stop

The internet has added yet another level of addiction for those who do not manage their activity.

In tandem with this, online gambling has allowed the gambler to escape into an insular world where there are seemingly no boundaries. The combination of these technologies has meant that the gambler or potential gambler should take control from day one to prevent fun from becoming destructive.

 

Staying in control

Online gambling has, to a certain extent, put control back into the hands of the gambler. It has created greater freedoms. It cuts travel costs completely, allowing people to play from any location within reason. Some gambling websites also have monetary limit features so gamblers are able to keep track of their spending. However, in a lot of cases these are not advertised well enough, going relatively unnoticed.

Given the current online and offline gambling climate, and based on current research, the best way to stay in control is to set personal spending limits from the moment you start. The ideal time to do this is from the very first moment you place a bet, go online to gamble, or engage in any form of activity where there is money and odds involved. Don’t spend more than you can reasonably afford to lose.

Noticing the warning signs

To work out whether you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties due to gambling, try answering the following questions:

Do you:

  • Find yourself reliving past gambling experiences, planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money to gamble?
  • Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to feel the excitement?
  • Become restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling?
  • Gamble as a way of escaping from problems or relieving guilt, anxiety or depression?
  • Often return another day in order to get even or chase your losses after gambling?
  • Lie to family members, friends, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling?
  • Participate in illegal activities (e.g. forgery, fraud or theft) in order to finance your gambling?
  • Jeopardize or lose a significant relationship, job or educational or career opportunity because of gambling?
  • Rely on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling?
  • Attempt to control, cut back or stop gambling but are unable to do so?

 

Check your score below:

1-2                at-risk

3-4                problem gambling

5 or more    compulsive gambler

 

Other things to consider

Responsible gambling doesn’t stop with the points mentioned above. There are other factors to consider, especially as an online gambler. These are:

  • Set a weekly spending limit that is safely within your personal outgoings. Don’t be tempted to go over it.
  • Make other non-gambling activities part of your daily life.
  • Make sure you have a full understanding of the gambling legalities (both off and online) in your country.
  • Make sure that your money is deposited and collected safely and swiftly online.
  • Choose an online gambling website that implements proper codes of practice for keeping track of spend.

 

Useful references

 Addiction

 

 

Codes of practice

 

 

If asked, the majority of people wouldn’t spend money for no good reason. If not managed properly, responsible individuals gamble away. Remember to plan ahead before you gamble.   

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