What is problem gambling?
An unfortunate fact of online gambling is that it can cause addiction, meaning that people become addicted to the excitement of risking their money. The same happens with traditional offline gambling too. However, the online community works hard to combat this and help is available in various ways. If you do have any concerns, always seek help. Gambling should always be fun- a hobby or game, never a necessity.
Ways to tackle problem gambling.
The first step with any such addictive issue is identification. In this case, problem gambling is also called gambling addiction. Like alcohol addiction, this problem is characterised by irresistible urges to continue doing something you should not. This kind of issue can be very subtle and the behaviour is hard to notice. In fact, the behaviour itself is not uncommon, but only becomes recognised as a problem when it starts to harm the gambler or people around them. This is usually because of running up debts as the player ‘chases losses’. Chasing losses is the behaviour of spending more and more money on gambling in an effort to win back money already lost, which of course can just make the situation worse.
The trouble with online gambling is the flipside of its greatest strength; it’s accessibility. While it’s great that you can now play your favourite slots on a mobile device or in comfort at home, that also means that addicted people are constantly exposed to temptation. Online sites have therefore implemented guidelines to combat problem gambling, recognising their responsibility as the first line of defence. The term responsible gaming is a product of this and refers to playing in safe, reasonable ways that suit your means, as opposed to spending more than you can afford. This therefore covers both addiction and general over spending. Many countries put great pressure on sites to ensure that customers practise responsible gaming.
To this end, most sites will inform you if your patterns of spending become high or have signs of addiction. They can even close your account if you indicate that you have an issue. This is important and you should use this facility if you need to, because breaking addiction requires distance. You can also set limits on your spending, usually through your account page, or set personal limits that you stick to even when you lose.
The last and strongest source of help for problem gaming is organisations that deal with addiction. There are several companies in every country that help to tackle gambling addiction, so simply search online and you’ll find a few easily. These places are dedicated to providing help, advice and support without judgement or legal repercussions. Often they use a step by step program to make it possible for you to help yourself. You will also find support among fellow gamblers, on casino site forums, social media and chat. Remember that problem gambling is far more common than people think, and can only be combatted by open and frank discussion.