Gambling addiction is a psychological problem that affects several facets of a person. Gambling is a recreational activity that has limits that cannot be exceeded. The purpose of gambling is to have fun. If a person does not understand this limit, an addiction problem may arise. The most frequent symptoms are excessive euphoria when winning, excessive sadness when losing, lack of control to stop betting or gambling, investing more money than one has, not fulfilling daily obligations or moving away from family and friends because of gambling. In these cases, gambling ceases to be a fun activity and becomes an addiction.
Main reasons for gambling addiction
- Reasons for gambling addiction
- Symptoms of gambling addiction
- Tips for responsible gaming
- Preventive measures
- Liability of gaming companies
- Youth protection
- How to get help with gaming addiction?
- Useful websites
- Organizations helping gambling addicts
There are several reasons for gambling addiction. Specialists state that there are certain warning signs that can give away a person who has a tendency to be addicted to gambling and that, therefore, they should be extremely cautious when playing regularly in gambling houses or online casinos so as not to fall into addiction.
One of the main factors, which often goes unnoticed, is biological factors.
The degree of maturity or immaturity of a person is something that must be taken into account, that is why casinos do not allow minors to register or play on their website. However, many people of legal age have a very high level of immaturity, so they are more likely to fall into gambling addiction.
Another trait that can lead to gambling addiction is the user's depressive tendency. A healthy gambler with high self-esteem knows how to face gambling as an element of fun, but a depressed person, or one who is lonely or isolated, may want to cover his frustrations through gambling and fall into a dangerous addiction from which, later on, he does not know how to get out.
Another factor that can lead to gambling addiction is living near a casino or gambling hall. Having unlimited and unrestricted access of any kind can lead to an addiction problem.
On the other hand, friendships are another decisive factor. Some people want to stand out above all else in their group of friends to compensate for past traumas or problems. This eagerness to stand out can lead them to gamble excessively to try to make up for their lack of self-esteem, until they unwittingly fall into a gambling addiction problem.
A traumatic experience in the past can influence and push a person to be always on the lookout for gambling to compensate for emotional deficiencies.
In the case of stressed people, stress is a factor that facilitates addiction to gambling, which is taken as an escape route. To avoid this problem, it is recommended that stressed people practice outdoor exercise every day to release their daily stress.
People who are over-consumers are more likely to suffer from a gambling addiction. Just as they shop compulsively, they will also gamble without any control and beyond their means, as this is the typical pattern of gambling addicts.
Main symptoms of gambling addiction
In order not to fall into gambling addiction, the best strategy is to detect the symptoms in time. When a gambler is winning he hardly notices any symptoms, since the main signs appear at the moment when difficulties arise. Among the main warning signs that can signal that a person is addicted to gambling are the following:
A gambling addict cannot stop gambling. Every day he/she will start to play compulsively and will be unable to stop playing. The key to know if someone is addicted to gambling consists in testing that person and that he/she knows how to stop gambling at the moment he/she wants to. The most relevant thing about a gambling addict is that he/she cannot control the moment when he/she has to stop and stop gambling.
One of the main problems of a gambling addict is money. In any daily activity we control the money we spend on everything. When a person does not set a budget for gambling or exceeds it, spending more than he had set for himself, it is a dangerous sign that he has a gambling addiction. In addition, a gambling addict spends more than he has and even goes so far as to borrow money just to keep up with his gambling. All this leads to serious financial problems: the gambling addict ends up in debt, does not pay the bills at home because he devotes all the money to gambling, so he ends up having serious financial problems.
Gambling addicts totally neglect their family and social life. All your time is invested in gambling. This is one of the clearest signs that the person has a real problem that must be addressed and solved immediately.
Another of the most obvious signs that someone is addicted to gambling occurs when the person withdraws completely into himself and cannot maintain any type of family or social relationship normally because he devotes all his time and energy to gambling. This leads to an abrupt change of character. A person who was once cheerful and sociable can become a sad and isolated person. At that moment, the game that used to amuse him or her has become his or her worst nightmare. The person no longer gambles for entertainment but compulsively, because he cannot stop. The feeling of guilt that this causes leads him to withdraw into himself and to stop enjoying other facets of life.
Phases of gambling addiction
Gambling addiction has very clear and identifiable phases. Experts warn of the existence of each of these phases that, with some variations and depending on the profile of the player, are present in all cases.
In most cases, people who start gambling stop in the first phase and do not have major problems. Keep in mind that gambling is an entertainment and fun activity, so addiction is a problem that occurs only in certain cases. The phases that alert of a danger of addiction are the following:
The winnings phase. The main motivation for playing in an online casino is to win winnings in the game. When someone wins a prize there is a pleasant feeling of excitement and joy. In gambling you never know when you can win, the constant search for that feeling of winning is the beginning of addiction when a player does not know how to play responsibly and does not know when to stop playing.
The phase of losses. Losses are very frequent in games of chance but the player knows that this phase is not permanent and that there will come a time when he will win. The loss phase generates rejection and frustration and this is very dangerous. Not accepting losses implies that the person will want to continue playing above all else to cover the losses he/she has had previously. This is where addiction can begin. The gambler no longer plays for fun but out of obligation, to win money above all else. When the amount of the losses has been very important, wanting to recover that money compulsively and without any kind of control is the first step to suffer an addiction.
The phase of desperation. In this phase the addiction is fully established. Here the gambler no longer plays for fun, but in order to pay for previous losses. He cannot stop gambling because his obsession is to cover his expenses and this prevents him from quitting. Debts mark his behavior, he no longer knows how to say no to gambling and wants to win and recover quickly what he has lost. Since this is not always possible, the person is driven to compulsive gambling, in which he loses the notion of reality. The obsession to win back what has been lost rules his life and the rest of his family, work and social obligations take a back seat.
Tips to keep in mind during the game
Gambling is a playful and pleasurable activity, its objective is fun and entertainment. There are many gamblers who know how to gamble in a positive way, they know how to stop gambling when it is appropriate and gambling does not interfere with their activities or cause them any problems. Only a small percentage of people fall into gambling addiction. To avoid it, it is advisable to follow these guidelines at the time of playing to control the game as much as possible:
Establish a specific schedule for playing. It is important to schedule a day and a few hours per week to dedicate to the game and to control the time spent playing as much as possible, so that it does not interfere with family, work or social activities or interfere with the rest of the facets of life. If necessary, this schedule can be modified, since it is more important to attend to personal matters than to follow a gaming routine.
Set a weekly or monthly gambling budget. It is essential to establish a gambling budget prior to the game. It must be an amount that can be available without taking its amount out of the ordinary expenses that must be assumed. The problem of gambling arises when debts are generated and money from basic needs is used to gamble. Once this is done, we will control the money invested in the game so that if we have spent the budget that we had destined to it, we will stop playing immediately.
Know how to ask for help. The moment a gambler notices that he/she has any symptoms of gambling addiction, he/she should know how to ask for help immediately. It is important to stop gambling for a period of time and recover before returning to gambling. If a person has a problem, such as a loss, a separation or an emotional problem, he/she should stop gambling until he/she is completely recovered, since emotional problems can lead to gambling addiction.
Preventive Measures: How to Protect Yourself from Gambling Addiction
At the first moment a symptom of gambling addiction appears, immediate action should be taken to prevent the problem from becoming more serious. There are certain tools that help a person with a gambling addiction problem. We highlight, especially, the following:
Gamstop is a very useful tool. Registering on this page prevents anyone from entering online casinos, so you will no longer be able to access them or be tempted to gamble.
Another strategy consists in limiting the games and deposits to play. In addition to blocking, stopping using the devices with which you play will also prevent you from being tempted to enter an online casino.
Discontinue gambling for a period of time. There is a time when you have to stop gambling, especially if you have lost significant amounts of money and if your dependence on gambling is increasing. All the almost0nos online have the necessary systems to help their players and prevent them from falling into addiction. One solution may be to leave the site for a while and only reactivate the account when you feel better.
Change friends. If your group of friends are just gambling and are becoming addicted to gambling, you may want to change your friends to prevent them from dragging you down with them. Seek healthier friends outside of that circle.
Engaging in other activities. If at any given time you are alone and engaged in gambling, it does not necessarily mean that it is harmful, as long as it is something you do only temporarily. Look for other activities. It is even possible to play other types of games online in which you do not bet any amount of money. In this way, you will not run the risk of suffering financial losses.
Liability of gaming companies
Prestigious online casinos have all the resources available to their players to avoid gambling addiction problems. Their main objective is the entertainment of the users and they have the security measures so that the users do not suffer any type of damage.
The online casinos have a customer service that immediately solves any of your problems and doubts. In addition, it is just as easy to register at the casino as it is to unsubscribe. It is enough to fill in the corresponding form to solve the problem.
You can set limits. Online casinos have various payment methods that allow you to set limits for the player. One of the best solutions are e-wallets that prevent the user from overspending and help people who are more likely to become addicted to gambling.
Assess whether you may be addicted to gambling. To find out if you are addicted to gambling, you can test yourself. It is enough to go a week or a month without gambling. If you can do it without feeling bad, you have no problem. Do this test on a regular basis to find out for sure. If you find that it is impossible to go without gambling, seek help immediately.
Gambling protection for minors
To register and play in an online casino it is essential to be of legal age. In this aspect, most countries are very forceful and deny access to gambling to minors. Maturity is one of the most important aspects to avoid gambling addiction, that is why casinos know that age is a risk factor that must be taken into account in all cases.
HOW TO GET HELP WITH GAMING ADDICTION? WHERE TO GO ? If you have identified with the symptoms of gambling addiction we have mentioned, you should seek help immediately. In every country there are associations and organizations dedicated to helping people with gambling addiction problems. It is important to turn to them if you perceive that you or someone in your family has this problem. We highlight the following organizations:
GamCare, BeGambleAware, Gamblers Anonymous, FEJAR (in Spain), Jugadores anónimos (in Argentina), protection of minors.
In every country there are websites aimed at helping players to gamble responsibly. It is important to keep in mind the most important issues before you start playing at an online casino. This will prevent you from making mistakes and from falling into addiction. The most important sites are the following:
- Gambling Therapy
- Gamblers Anonymous
Organizations that help gamblers with debts
The main problem of gambling addicts is debt. There are also pages designed to help gamblers with their debts, which grant them a credit so that they can pay their debts and return to economic normality, a basic issue for every person who is addicted to gambling.