Most people who place bets or gamble at a casino never go on to develop an addiction. But that is not to say that gambling addiction should not be taken seriously. Addiction can ruin and claim lives and being addicted to gambling is just as valid a problem as addiction to drink and drugs.
When the fun stops, stop.
For anyone who may be concerned they are at risk of becoming a problem gambler, what are the major signs to be looking out for? This guide will tell you everything that you need to know.
What exactly is a gambling problem?
A person with a gambling problem is usually defined as someone who has chased losses, feels a compulsion to place bets or has borrowed or stolen cash in order to be able to gamble money.
There are various other ways to define a gambling problem, but the three factors labelled above are usually found at the heart of the matter for people who do go on to develop an addiction.
People who feel guilty when they place bets may also have a gambling problem. Others who have felt anxiety or stress about their gambling are also likely to be suffering from addiction.
Various online questionnaires are available to anyone who would like to check whether or not they might have a gambling addiction.
Compulsive gamblers may gamble more than they can afford to lose on a regular basis. This is why one of the golden rules in betting is always to avoid betting more money than a person can afford to lose. Risk is inherent in gambling, but it is vital to do this in order to maintain control.
According to the World Health Organization, addiction to gambling should be classed as a disease. At last year’s World Health Assembly held by the body, it was decreed that ‘gaming disorder’ should now be treated as an official illness.
How many people develop a gambling problem?
Rates of gambling addiction differ around the world. However, in some nations, there has been very little research carried out into this issue, so the picture is far from completely clear.
The gambling addiction rate in Europe is said to be somewhere between 0.5 percent and three percent. Data that has been collected by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission has found the rate to be around the 0.6 percent mark, which has been consistent in various studies carried out by the organisation.
In North America, research that has been undertaken by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission Act found the rate of problem gamblers to be between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent. Nevada – which is home to Las Vegas, the world’s undisputed gambling capital – has an addiction rate thought to be around the 2.5 percent mark.
Meanwhile, in Australia, where a lot of new casinos have been built in recent years, data collected by researchers working for the Australian National University and Southern Cross University found living closer to a gambling location increases the chances of a person betting. Under one percent of people living in Australia – around 80,000 to 160,000 people – are thought to have a gambling problem according to the Productivity Commission.
What help and support are available for those people with a gambling problem?
Betting sites and online casinos are increasingly aware of the risks posed by addiction. As a result, a lot of companies have signed up for exclusion schemes. These allow individuals to sign up for a scheme that means they are prevented from accessing such sites through the internet.
Other measures have also been taken in order to help people to stay in control of their gambling.
Explained in detail here is the loss limit feature that is increasingly put in place now. Typically, betting sites will also enable their customers to put a deposit limit in place. This can be set at a certain amount of money, after which the site will not allow the user to make more deposits.
People who suffer from an addiction to gambling may also be able to access treatment to help solve the problem. Many of the same treatments are used against gambling addiction as are given to those who have problems with addiction to drugs or alcohol. One of the most common treatments that are widely used to combat gambling addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy.
It should also be noted that people with mental health problems are more likely to develop a gambling addiction. Further risk factors involved in gambling problems include certain personality traits, such as being highly competitive.
Anyone who is concerned about their gambling becoming an addiction should also speak to their doctor. They will be able to offer advice on the best steps to take to gain control of the problem.