How To Protect Gambling Addiction
Gambling is not a way to make money. Constantly trying to hit the jackpot and wipe out your losses are two of the main symptoms of a gambling addiction. You just keep waiting for that jackpot and hoping to make back all the money you lost or even more. But this “big break” never comes, and you just dig a deeper hole for yourself. It is very important that you understand that gambling will not make you rich. Every online casino is organized in such a way that the casino always has an advantage. This advantage of the casino is known as the “house edge”.
You can find more information about this in our articles on RTP and volatility. It only focuses on casino games, but it works in a similar way when betting on sports matches, bingo, scratch cards, the lottery and all other forms of gambling.
The house edge makes you lose a small percentage of any bet, making it virtually impossible to make money in the long run. Each game is set up differently, but they all have the same factor in common – you will eventually lose money if you keep playing.
Always keep this in mind as it may change the way you think about gambling now. Winning money or at least recovering the money that was lost is most likely one of the reasons you gamble.
However, many professionals agree that the real reasons for gambling are much deeper than that. For example, when it comes to gambling addiction, money is often not even one of the reasons. This is often about “feeding” the addiction, where money is a necessary ingredient.
Many gamblers also don’t stop when they finally hit that jackpot, but keep playing until they’ve lost everything or until they realize they have a big problem, after which they can do something about it. So the sooner you realize that gambling is not a way to make money, the better it will be for you and the more fun you will have playing.
Gambling Addiction Diagnosis And Symptoms
A gambling addiction affects just about all aspects of life, so the symptoms also show up in different parts. Symptoms can range from minor mental changes to committing illegal acts to fund your gambling addiction.
It is known by many names such as: gambling disorder, problem gambling, compulsive gambling, ludomania, pathological gambling, gambling addiction. Although these terms may differ slightly in precise definition, the “core” meaning is the same for all of them.
Gambling is seen as problematic when the person feels the compulsion to continue playing despite the harmful and negative consequences it entails.
You may see gambling as a harmless activity at the moment, but the moment it develops into something that has a negative impact on your life, the negative consequences can be disastrous.
This is precisely why it is important to examine whether the way you gamble is normal or not, when you start to feel that something may be wrong. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can take the appropriate actions.
Definition Of Gambling Addiction
We briefly explained the definition of gambling addiction earlier in the article. Gambling addiction is the urge to gamble constantly despite the harmful or negative consequences, or the inability to stop gambling even though you know you should.
Gambling addicts continue to play despite the fact that their gambling habits negatively affect themselves (or those around them), and even if they want to quit.
Gambling addiction is not necessarily about the amount you gamble or the size of your bet, but the consequences that the actions related to gambling have on your own life, and the lives of your family, friends and other people around you. However, the chance of developing harmful gambling habits is a lot higher among the people who gamble very regularly and with larger amounts of money.
The Three Stages of Gambling Addiction
Let’s start with the three stages of problem (or compulsive) gambling, as described by Robert L. Custer, M.D., in his research on compulsive gambling and its recovery. This study also includes the three stages of recovery.
1. The winning stage
Gambling addictions don’t always start with losing money, but with winning. The first time someone wins while gambling, it can make that person even more interested in gambling. This often develops into a gambling problem or even a serious addiction.
Gambling becomes more common usually after the first winning experiences, combined with the fantasies about more winnings. A person may become very enthusiastic about gambling and enjoy winning, and gradually become more and more obsessed with it.
During the winning phase, gambling is generally not considered a problem by either the gamblers themselves or those around them. It is often seen here as a form of entertainment and it usually occurs as a group activity.
2. The losing phase
As has been mentioned countless times on realcasinosUK, it is not possible to keep winning money at online casinos over the long term. It is therefore logical that the winning phase will eventually come to an end. This is the starting point of the losing phase.
During the losing phase, the player may experience prolonged betting sessions without winning, begin to gamble alone, and become more and more involved. But with the fact that they are now losing money instead of winning, the gambling is starting to become a problem here.
Gambling starts to become a problem not only due to losing money, but also due to personality changes, absence from work, careless attitude, and so on. We’ll list more of these symptoms later in the article, most of which arise in the losing phase.
Money also becomes a major issue at this stage. It’s difficult to keep getting enough “fuel” for a long-term gambling addiction, which is why people often start here by borrowing money or looking for alternative ways to get money to gamble.
3. The Despair Phase
The despair phase follows. The amount of time you spend gambling increases even more, and many people engage in illegal acts at this stage to get more money.
Feelings of regret and panic are common as players realize what they have done and how difficult they have made it to go back to their “normal” lives.
The person’s reputation is often negatively affected at this stage as other people begin to notice the problematic gambling habits. Work and social life are also starting to suffer.
Because it is difficult to take responsibility for what has already happened, it is quite common for the gambling addicts to blame other people for the setbacks they experience from problem gambling.
After the despair phase, the gamblers hit rock bottom. This is characterized by hopelessness and that they become more and more isolated when the person does not have enough money to continue gambling.
Furthermore, alcohol and drug use are quite common here. Also, seeking illegal ways to earn money is very common along with being arrested for these illegal acts. Most emotional breakdowns and suicidal thoughts also occur during this time.
Is this possible to overcome a gambling addiction?
Once gambling has developed into a problem or addiction, it is not easy to get rid of it. However, it is possible to get over your addiction, and there are several methods that can help the gambler with their battle against problem gambling, pathological gambling, gambling disorders or a gambling addiction.
3 Steps Of Recovery From Gambling Addiction
Robert L. Custer, M.D., a psychiatrist who has pioneered research into the treatment of pathological and problem gambling, established a model consisting of three phases of compulsive gambling and three phases of recovery.
It has been decades since these three phases were first described and the gambling industry has changed a lot in the meantime, but the core principles remain the same.
The three stages of compulsive gambling are; the winning phase, the losing phase, and the despair phase. After a person has gone through these three phases, they really hit the bottom.
1. Critical Phase
In the critical phase it is important that you think critically about everything you are doing and have already done. You realize what has happened and you start taking responsibility for your actions. You stop gambling and start thinking clearly, and the urge to gamble no longer affects everything you do.
There’s a good chance that your gambling addiction has put you in a bad financial situation, so it’s important that you come up with a plan on how to pay off these debts and get yourself back on track financially. So in the critical phase it is most important that you start rebuilding your life without gambling.
2. Reconstruction phase
In the first phase you will start rebuilding your life, but there is still quite a long way to go. The rebuilding phase is about how you can continue this start and actually rebuild your life. This process requires improvement in multiple areas, including personal growth, improving your relationships, and rebuilding your finances.
In terms of finances, it is necessary to stick to the aforementioned debt repayment schedule, while also making sure that you can pay the current bills.
In addition, it is very important that you ensure that any legal issues that have arisen due to your problematic gambling habits are resolved.
After this you can start accepting yourself for who you really are, with all your strengths and weaknesses. You will gradually regain your self-esteem and become less impatient and irritable. You will undertake new activities, seek new interests and set goals for the future.
Furthermore, you start to spend more time with your family, friends, spouse and everyone else important in your life, trying to rebuild all these relationships. These people will slowly start to trust you again and the relationships will get better and better.
3. Growth phase
After rebuilding your life, it is a great opportunity to grow even further, become a better version of yourself and discover a new way of living. This happens in the growth phase.
You stop thinking about gambling and you are again able to deal with everything that comes your way. You can again deal with problems and solve them in a correct way, without the influences that gambling had on your behavior. You begin to understand yourself and other people better than before the addiction, which makes you stronger in your new life without gambling.
Responsible Gambling Tools
Gambling addiction is a major problem in the online gambling world. Due to the fact that an online casino is available almost anytime and anywhere, many players have a hard time keeping their gambling habits at a healthy level.
Responsible Gambling is an initiative of online gambling providers, regulatory authorities and other bodies that investigate gambling habits. The aim of the initiative is to provide players with all the resources they need to regulate their gambling habits.
This is done by being able to set different limits, self-exclusion options and other means, which ensures that the players can gamble responsibly and safely.
If you do not want to set a limit on your access to an online casino, it is also possible to set the maximum amount of money that can be deposited into your account.
This ensures that you regulate how much you spend on gambling as you can only deposit a certain amount within a selected period.
Limits on gambling amount
Many casinos also offer the option of limiting the maximum you can lose during a selected period. This limit works in many ways the same as the deposit limit, only this limit also applies to the money that the player already has in his account, which the deposit limit does not.
The wagering limit is also very similar to the previously mentioned limits, however, this limit limits the amount you can wager within a certain period of time. On this limit, the result (winning or losing money) alone has no influence.
Session length limits
Some casinos also have a limit on the length of a gambling session, where you can only gamble for a predetermined amount of time within a certain period of time. Once you reach this limit you will not be able to continue gambling until the time period has expired.
Bet Size Limits
If you don’t want to limit yourself in the amount you can play and the size of your deposits, but you do want to set a limit on the size of your bet, there is also an appropriate option for this. This form of limit is very self-explanatory – you cannot bet more than the limit you have set beforehand.
A reality check is also a useful way to regulate yourself while gambling, but it works differently than the previous limits. It doesn’t set limits, but gives you useful information about your gambling session after you have played for a certain time.
This is not directly related to playing, but it is still very important. Many casinos give players the option to stop receiving emails. By using this option, the players prevent the casino from sending them promotional emails and messages, calling or emailing them, and so on.
Blocking Your Account
Closing your casino account completely is another method that should be available if you want to stop playing. Unfortunately, this option is rarely offered. It is very difficult to completely block your account, without there being an option to reopen it at a later time.
Help Gambling Addiction Centers
Responsible gambling is not just about all the resources that players can use to gamble more responsibly. It is also about the overall approach of gambling operators, game providers and all other bodies involved in gambling and the protection of players.
- National Helpline – 1-800-522-4700
- Gordon Moody Association – 01384 241292
- Gamblers Anonymous UK