Betting on slots and other casino games is supposed to be a form of entertainment, a way to relax and pass the time. Some people have no problem setting a budget and sticking to it, others take this hobby more seriously. The games can be so volatile that lucky winners take home incredible amounts of money. With the way the reward system in our brain works, it is no wonder that gambling can become addicitive, in particular for those who no longer view these activities as entertainment. Certain types of players are more prone to losing control or getting addicted. In our opinion, the difference between a regular player and an addict lies in the way they spend money on gambling.
Problems start to arise when you’re staking money you can’t afford to lose and should be spent on more important things like clothes, utility bills or groceries. In such cases, the player will often know in the back of his head that this is not a viable long-term strategy, but is unable to make lasting changes.
Causes of problematic gambling
Problematic gambling is defined as a compulsive need to bet on games with a negative long-term expectation, despite not being able to afford spending that money and while being aware of the consequences that this behavior has had or will have in the future. Such a problem is not to be taken lightly as it can harm not only yourself, but also the people close to you.
The causes of problematic gambling can vary among individuals. Some, for example, are motivated by the possible financial gains, while others can turn to gambling as an easy way of escaping reality. No matter the cause or motivation to engage in such behavior, compulsive gamblers often show the same telltale signs.
- Financial problems such as loaning money, constantly acquiring new credit cards or refusing to pay utility bills
- Lying when questioned about their gambling behavior
- Being under a lot of stress and/or avoiding certain people due to unpaid debts.
- Thinking or talking about gambling all the time
When you recognise one or multiple signs with one of your friends or family members, it is of the uttermost importance to get them the help they need. The first step is to make this person aware of the fact that they have a problem. Once this is acknowledged, they can then accept help from dedicated institutions.
Many online casino’s are doing everything in their power to make players aware of the help they can seek out, should they develop a gambling addiction. You can often find this type of information in a similar manner as it is presented on our site, by clicking a link in the bottom part of their homepage (often titled “Responsible Gambling” in the footer section). In most cases a casino will also provide a means to control spendings by allowing you to set a daily, weekly or monthly limit. Another possibility is to exclude yourself, in lay-man’s terms this means you are asking the casino to ban you for life.
There are several dedicated resources available to people in need of help. In order to get more information on this topic, we would advise you to visit these sites and come into contact with a professional.
Responsible Gambling Trust – www.responsiblegamblingtrust.org.uk
Gamblers Anonymous – www.gamblersanonymous.org
Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
Gamble Aware – www.gambleaware.co.uk