Online gambling is one of the most exciting and popular activities available on the web, and it can be tremendously fun and exciting. While most online casino games can be played for fun, everyone knows that the real thrill is in playing them for real money. Playing in real cash mode is not only exciting, it can be quite rewarding too. But what happens when the fun and excitement turns into an addiction that can’t be controlled?
The Reality of Gambling Addiction
As most of us already know, gambling is a risky business as there is always the chance that you can lose your bet. In fact, the bigger the bet, the bigger the risk, and consequently, the bigger the thrill. However, when you start chasing one loss after the next with bigger and bigger bets, or you just can’t seem to walk away from the game, you may have a gambling addiction problem.
While no two gambling addictions are the same, the consequences of those gambling addictions often are. These can include social consequences such as the loss of friends and family, economic consequences such as the loss of savings and even your source of income, and psychological issues that can last a lifetime.
Recognising Compulsive Gambling
With the advent of the internet and online gambling, the chances of falling victim to compulsive gambling have increased exponentially. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, when it comes to gambling in brick and mortar casinos, the chances of becoming a compulsive gambler are a bit less. This is because you are actually dealing with real people, real dealers, real pit bosses, doormen and so forth. At any point, someone will be there to either alert you that you have been playing too long, or even cut you off from the tables (or slots) in extreme instances.
However, with online gambling, being able to recognise the symptoms of compulsive gambling become much harder. This is often because online gamblers will play by themselves, against machines that are not programmed to warn you if you have been gambling for too long. In addition, being able to gamble online is quick and easy. All you really need is a good internet connection, some time, and a payment method such as your credit or debit card. Since you do not need to travel to a casino, and can play anywhere and at any time, becoming addicted to gambling becomes much easier.
Being able to self-monitor becomes the main goal here, and it can be very challenging indeed. However, there are certain tell-tale signs that you can look out for in your own behaviour, or even that of a friend or family member.
- Severe and erratic mood swings coupled with the inability to find any joy in other activities
- Spending less time with friends and family
- Eating and/or sleeping disorders
- Playing for more money than you had set aside
- Prioritizing your online gambling sessions over other activities or people
- Dipping into your savings account to finance your gambling account
- Uncontrollable emotional reaction to losses
- You open new gambling accounts after having closed other accounts
- Borrowing money from friends and/or family to gamble with
- Prioritising spending money on gambling rather than on food or rent etc.
Preventing Gambling Addiction
Fortunately there are a number of things that you can do to prevent gambling addiction before it even gets a chance to take root. The most reputable UK online casinos will also have several self-management tools in place which you can use to ensure that you do not fall into any of the traps associated with gambling addiction.
There are several tools available and which ones are available will depend on the online site itself. The most common of these include the ability to regulate and control the frequency and amount of your deposits and the option to take a time out from your gambling profile whenever you feel your self-control slipping. Another great tool which you will find at most top UK online casino sites, are wagering limits, which can help you control how much you spend per gambling session.
Some good home truths can also help you to prevent gambling addiction before it starts. This includes understanding that you have no actual influence on the outcome of any round or hand. All game results at an online casino are determined by Random Number Generators (RNG’s), and not because you decide to bet red three times in a row for example.
Getting the Help You Need
If you, or a friend, have already passed the point of prevention, there are plenty of avenues which you can explore to get the help that you need. Today’s modern online casino industry is a socially responsible organisation that is committed to ensuring that its customers come first in all aspects. This is why all reputable online casinos operating within the UK display partnerships with leading experts in gambling addiction such as Gamble Aware and GamCare. Simply clicking on any of these logos displayed on your online casino will take you directly to their homepages.
The real beauty of a site like GamCare, is that it features a simple self-assessment test which can be taken anonymously and with no registration required. Quite often gambling addicts feel ashamed and do not get the treatment that they need for fear of revealing their identities. Both GamCare and Gamble Aware offer anonymous testing along with useful and effective resources to help you or a loved one conquer gambling addiction.
Gambling Addiction Resources
- Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB): 0121 230 6666
- Gamble Aware: 0808 8020133
- GamCare: 0808 8020 133
- Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB): www.rgsb.org.uk
- Gamble Aware: www.gambleaware.org
- Gamblers Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk
- GamCare UK: www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gambling Therapy: www.gamblingtherapy.org
Gambling Therapy offers a variety of support options including live support, active support groups and support forums. They also have an app which you can download to your mobile device that contains a collection of tools and information you can use to identify and ultimately overcome gambling addiction.