Problem Gambling Defined
Unchecked gambling, or compulsive gambling, represents an uncontrollable need to keep betting real money on gambling games. Similar to other addictions, gambling issues can lead to severe financial and personal problems. Those who suffer from gambling addiction often end up losing a lot of money. Behaviors associated with addictive gambling can result in accumulating debt or even in illegal activities.
Problematic gambling also translates to betting. It can be on sporting events, tournaments, novelty, and various other betting options.
Distinguishing Between Problem Gambling and Responsible Gambling
Responsible gambling is all about having fun within a set bankroll that is expendable. Unchecked gambling, on the other hand, often exceeds any financial limits and ends up costing too much.
The question then becomes where this limit is. Well, this can depend on the individuals, their playing habits, and their available income.
Responsible gambling doesn’t have adverse effects on other parts of your life. It is a simple form of entertainment that doesn’t require a significant amount of money. You are simply betting for the thrill of it and the gaming experience.
In contrast, players who suffer from gambling addiction often think about betting throughout the day. They also spend more money than they can afford to lose without it affecting their personal lives. The volume of betting is more extensive, but the level of entertainment is lower.
Another vital distinction between problem gambling and responsible gambling is staying within set limits. Players should always establish limits on losses, time spent, and maybe even on winnings. Staying within these limits can prevent gambling problems in the future.
What About Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction makes it difficult to stay within safe parameters. Players suffering from this addiction will bet more money than they can afford. They also spend more time on betting options, which can interfere with other responsibilities. Spending the rent money on gambling games or missing work due to betting are signs of gambling addiction.
Various Factors That Make Problem Gambling More Likely for Some Individuals
Many factors can influence how susceptible an individual is to compulsive gambling. For example, people suffering from depression and other similar mental health conditions can often turn to gambling. If this becomes more than a simple hobby, it develops into an addiction. Other health issues can also make some players more likely to have problems with gambling, like post-traumatic stress disorder.
Key factors can be found in the environment, especially when growing up. For example, people whose parents gambled during their forming years can also turn on that path when reaching adulthood. Friends can also influence individuals and persuade them to bet more than they are comfortable with.
Recent studies show that lonely people can develop an addictive behavior as a way to cope. These gamblers are often experiencing high levels of solitude and rely on betting for recreation.
The Mental Struggle is Worse Than the Financial
While problem gambling can lead to financial loss, it also takes a mental toll. Those suffering from gambling addiction often report a significant mental impact and exhaustion that results from betting. This is especially true when relapsing after trying to quit the habit.
The responsible gambling campaign in the UK has a simple and catchy slogan: “When the fun stops, STOP!”. It means that if you are no longer having fun gambling, stop doing it. If you don’t like how betting on casino games or sports makes you feel, stop immediately.
How to Recognize the Problem
Knowing when there is a problem is half of the solution. We present the key signs to look for that can indicate problem gambling:
- Wagering more to feel the same level of excitement – If playing for small stakes isn’t fun anymore, you might be going down a slippery slope.
- Irritability and restlessness when not gambling or trying to cut down – This is one of the main indicators of addictive behavior.
- More than one unsuccessful attempt to quit – Like other addictions, compulsive gambling can be challenging to quit.
- Constantly thinking about gambling – The activity should be just an innocent pastime and not something that takes over the entire life.
- Stress gambling – Betting when feeling stressed or frustrated often leads to bad decisions. These, in turn, increase the stress, which creates a vicious circle.
- Chasing losses – Another critical aspect regarding gambling is chasing losses. Players bet more in an attempt to win back some money and end up losing more.
- Lying to close family members – The need to lie about something should indicate a problem. Problem gamblers often keep it a secret from their friends and family.
- Asking for financial help – Since problem gambling leads to financial debt, users generally take loans and ask for help. Betting shouldn’t cause serious financial issues.
Problem Gambling Around the World – What Do Statistics Show
Gambling is a massive industry with more than $400 billion in revenue. Let’s take a closer look at the biggest gambling markets in the world:
- Australia – Around 1% of Australian adults have issues with gambling addiction, and an additional 2% have moderate risks.
- New Zealand – The Gambling Act of 2003 in New Zealand has helped reduce the number of problem gamblers. However, the industry continues to be significant due to the large player pool. Research shows that between 0.3% and 1.8% of adults in New Zealand can be classified as problem gamblers. That amounts to between 10,000 and 60,000 people.
- Canada – Gambling is quite popular in Canada, with over 66% of the adult population engaging in betting. However, most players take part in lotteries, which have a small risk of developing an addiction. That being said, only 0.6% of the population has gambling problems. An additional 2.7% were identified as at-risk gamblers.
- US – Despite having the most prominent gambling industry globally, gambling in the US isn’t a big problem. Recent analysis also shows that problem gambling is limited to around 0.9% of adults in the US. It’s a lower figure than the estimated 2.9% seen in previous years.
- UK – The United Kingdom remains one of the biggest gambling markets in the world. Unfortunately, it also has a high percentage of problem gamblers, estimated for 2.7% of adults experiencing issues. The figures also show that up to 7% of adults (3.6 million people) have been affected by gambling problems.
- Finland – With around 78% of adults in Finland taking part in gambling every year, the country has a massive industry. It also comes with higher rates for problem gambling than its neighboring countries. Reports say 3.3% of the population in Finland has a gambling problem.
What is the Most Addictive Casino Game
Electronic machines are the most addictive games in a casino. Slots, in particular, are responsible for creating problem gamblers much faster than other games. According to reports, slot players can become addicted in just 1.08 years, compared to 3.58 years for table game players. One of the main reasons for their addictive nature is the instant gratification that they provide through wins.
Male vs. Female Gamblers – Who is Doing Worse
Males gamble more than females on a general level. Findings also indicate that male players come with a higher rate for problem gambling. In a recent study in the US, only 2.9% of women were addicted to gambling, compared to the 4.2% rate for men.
How Do No Deposit Bonuses and Promotions Affect Problem Gambling
No deposit bonuses and promotions can persuade players to gamble more than they would otherwise. They can also urge compulsive gamblers who are looking to stop to come back and bet again. The promise of free spins, extra cash, or other perks may be enough to tip the balance. However, studies don’t show a clear connection between promotions and problem gambling.
It is best to block any promotional campaigns when looking to cut down on betting to prevent future issues. Players can do this by opting out of notifications and even by self-excluding from gambling sites.
Daddy’s Opinion on the Swedish Gambling Model and Its Impact on Responsible Gambling
Many regulatory bodies have introduced some restrictions for gambling within country borders. These are meant to limit the influence that operators can have on vulnerable players.
An example would be the restriction on casino bonuses in Sweden. Here, players can only claim a welcome bonus and no other promotions after that. The regulations ban any following campaigns, which has some interesting results. First of all, it means that Swedes have access to fewer bonuses on average. But it can mean smaller returns since some promos can help users win more. However, it can also lead Swedish players to jump from one casino to another more often in search of bonuses.
Responsible Gaming Features Commonly Found on Online Casino Sites
Problem gambling is a serious concern, and the main issue is that those who suffer from it don’t get the help they need. It is estimated that only 3% of problem gamblers reach out and get assistance. Therefore, identifying the issue remains the first and probably the most crucial step. It all starts with the individual and can then continue on a better path. If the player is willing to tackle problematic behaviors, online casinos provide different features and tools.
- Requesting timeout or self-exclusion – You can request a timeout from the casino, ranging from a few minutes to a whole month. During this time, you will not be able to sign in to bet on the site. It is great for taking a break.
- Pop-up messages or reality checks – Time flies when playing casino games, and that is why reality checks can be beneficial. You can set to get a quick pop-up message hourly or when you want to. It will help you keep track of your time throughout the session.
- Setting a limit of deposits – A highly recommended feature for staying in control when gambling online. Set a bankroll and use that to set limits on the chosen casino. This way, you will not be able to deposit more than what you previously designated as the playing balance.
- Time restrictions – Gaming doesn’t just take up money but also time. With time restrictions, you are setting a limit on how much you can play. Once you reach your limit for the day or week, you have to stop.
- Closing one’s account permanently – If you decide to stop betting, make sure to close the account. It will eliminate the temptation of going back for a “small session.”
Seeking Help and Managing Problem Gambling
In recent years, resources have become readily available and oftentimes free. Almost each of the leading gambling markets has a dedicated service for helping those affected. If you want to get help or learn more about problem gambling, you are just a few clicks away.
USA – National Council on Problem Gambling
The NCPG is an excellent source of responsible gambling resources for free. They operate with the mission to develop comprehensive policies and programs for those affected by problem gambling. Customers can use the helpline network by calling 1-800-522-4700 or by live chat at ncpgambling.org/chat.
UK – Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission in the UK is responsible for licensing and regulating operators within Great Britain. They work with known companies for treatment, education, and harm prevention, such as BeGambleAware.org. The national gambling treatment service is available for free 24/7 at 0808 8020 133 and by live chat.
Canada – Responsible Gambling
ResponsibleGambling.org has up-to-date resources to help Canadians and others prevent problems from gambling. The site lists local centers where players can receive treatment and assistance. There is also a contact form on the site for help via email.
Australia – Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
The organization was designed to support people suffering from gambling issues and others affected by it. Aussies can check out Gambler’s Help for free support on the site and by phone at 1800 858 858.
New Zealand – PGF Services
Players in New Zealand who may be experiencing problems with gambling can get help from Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF). It guides users with different levels of addiction and provides the right services for treatment. You can register for support, chat online, or call at 0800 664 262.
South Africa – South African Responsible Gambling Foundation
The South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF) site welcomes users with a quick self-check quiz. This is a great way to evaluate your gambling habits. There is even a self-exclusion option for casinos in South Africa. They have 24/7 telephone lines available.
- Finland – Peluuri is the primary organization for responsible gambling in Finland.
- Germany – Support for problem gamblers in Germany is available through EGBA.eu.
- Norway – The Norwegian Gaming Authority regulates gambling operators and offers helpful resources for players.
- Denmark – Danish players can reach out to the Danish Gambling Authority at spillemyndigheden.dk for help.
Additional Resources and Alternative Ways of Seeking Help
In addition to the official resources for problem gambling in each country, players can also find other options. Some of them can be more convenient for specific individuals, and they are worth looking into.
- Online forums – a way to discuss with people going through similar experiences. Users can be anonymous and share their stories safely.
- Support groups – having people around that are going through the same issues can be helpful. It is also great for getting advice and help as you go along.
- Telephone helplines – there are quite a few helplines for problem gambling available worldwide. Users can go for country-specific ones for help in native languages.
- NGOs – non-governmental organizations for gambling addiction are non-profit and work independently of any government. They can offer support through an established community, helpful resources, and more.
- Mental Health Professionals – like many addictions, problem gambling is a disease that can be treated with the help of professionals.
Advice for People Dealing With Problem Gamblers
Gambling issues don’t just affect the players but also the people around them. The good news is that friends and family can help gamblers overcome these problems. Here are some quick tips:
- Be patient – change doesn’t happen overnight, and it is important to give them time to get better.
- Communicate – share your thoughts and listen to theirs in an open and welcoming environment.
- Offer to look after their finances – suggest managing their funds as a way to prevent them from gambling too much.
- Acknowledge and encourage positive personality traits – focus on the positives and help expand on them.
- Contact support groups – don’t be afraid to ask for help from others with more experience.
- Never lie or cover up for such behavior – don’t encourage problem gamblers by solving their issues or covering for them.
Invest Your Money in Crypto Instead
An alternative to gambling that can provide a similar thrill is investing in cryptocurrencies. It is identical to gambling since you can’t know what the outcome will be. For instant gratification, you can opt for short-term investments. For more extended periods, you can still check the updates and see how things are going. Who knows, in a few years, you can end up winning big time.
March is Responsible Gambling Awareness Month
Throughout March, organizations ramp up their services and bring more awareness and resources to the subject. In 2023, the theme was “Awareness + Action,” encouraging players to seek support and help.
Daddy’s Tips for Safe Gambling
All in all, Daddy encourages players to take advantage of the available tools to gamble responsibly. Players should enable pop-up messages, set limits on deposits and bets, play for fun, and only gamble extra funds. Please don’t rely on gambling for a steady income since it will only result in frustration. Casino games and other forms of betting should be just a form of entertainment when you feel that it’s time to take a break, self-exclude, and cool off.
Does self-exclusion really work?
Self-exclusion works on different levels. You can opt to self-exclude from one casino but still have access to others. The better solution is to add yourself to the excluded list with the regulator in your country. This way, you can restrict more casinos at once.
How do organizations help with problem gambling?
Some organizations can give you professional help and guidance on solving gambling issues. Sometimes it even helps to talk to someone who knows the situation. Organizations can also put you in touch with help groups and other qualified personnel.
What is GamTalk?
GamTalk is a community dedicated to helping players with gambling issues. It is a place where users can share their experiences and ideas, get feedback and overcome problems related to gambling.
Is it possible to prevent gambling addiction?
Yes, players can prevent gambling addiction by regularly taking a step back and assessing the situation. You can also take a quick quiz on the subject to see where you stand.