Problem Gambling - Do You Play Games, or Do Games Play You?

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There’s absolutely no doubt about it - gambling can be a lot of fun.  Yet, if your gambling habit gets out of hand, your life can end up spiraling out of control.  Our article below discusses problem gambling along with the warning signs and gives players tips on responsible gambling at brick-and-mortar casinos as well as casinos online. 

What is Problem Gambling?problem gambling

Problem gambling results from a compulsive need to gamble. By compulsive, we mean the dire need to gamble obsessively to feel content. Much of the time, this kind of behavior results from a need to win the money whilst playing a particular game be it Slots, Video Poker, table games or other games of chance.

Before you play any sort of casino game, you should always be aware of the dangers associated with gambling. If you get feel like your gambling has gotten out of control and you’ve become a problem gambler because of your behavior, you need to know when and how to stop.

How do you know that you have a problem?

Realizing that you have a gambling problem can be difficult, especially if you’ve got nobody to tell you that you might have a problem on your hands. When you play games, you should be on the watch out for certain signs. Each one of them could indicate that you might be the victim of problem gambling. If you recognize several of them in your own behavior, you really need to think over your situation.

What are the Signs of Problem Gambling?

You spend more money on gambling than you had planned;

You lose your sense of time and stay in the game longer than planned;

You don't quit when you're up, but continue gambling until the money is gone; 

You're easily annoyed if something disturbs you while gambling;

You chase your losses, trying to win back money that you've lost; 

You spend more and more time gambling and thinking about gambling;

You need to play higher to get the same excitement;

You have a strong belief that you will make big wins;

You think that you lose because you didn't play well enough;

You spend more on gambling than you let your friends know;

You don't tell the truth to people that are close to you;

You choose gaming before family, friends or work.

How Do You Treat a Gambling Addiction?

The truth is that treating a gambling addiction is no easy task. However, you should never despair if you do feel like you’re a problem gambler. There are a number of steps you can take to overcome the addiction. Have a look below to find out all about how you can get on the right track to recovery!

1) Admit the Problem

The first step to get you on the road to recovery is admitting the problem at hand. If you deny a problem, it will stay with you and sometimes even get worse. Of course, addiction isn't something we choose. It’s something that unfortunately just happens to people who have an addictive personality.

Problem gambling, it's most often not something you can simply stop by will. If each problem gambler could just shake it off, it wouldn't be a problem to begin with now would it?

2) Call a Helpline

In today’s world, there’s definitely a lot more awareness about problem gambling. In effect, this has led to plenty of helplines being made available for gamblers with this specific problem. Provided that you feel that you do have a problem, you should start of by talking to someone.

3) Get Support

If you do discover that you do have a gambling problem, don’t worry you're not alone. Gambling problems are as old as gambling itself, and we're speaking ancient China. Use the power of other people's experience and join a support group to help get you out of the rut. Chances are good that you can find a group of Gamblers Anonymous not far from the place you live. Check the phone book and strike up a non-committing discussion that could improve your life.

4) Limit the Amount of Cash You’re Allowed to Deposit at the Casino

If you don’t think you’re ready to stop gambling completely, you can start by setting a deposit limit on your account. Most online casinos will allow you to do this. Usually, all you have to do to set a deposit limit is email customer support specifying the amount you can deposit and they’ll do the rest of the work for you.

5) Ban Yourself from the Casino

Provided that you’d like to stop playing casino games completely, you can always ban yourself from the casino for a short or long period of time. Making the poison hard to get to will help you abstain from playing.

6) Seek Professional Help

Provided that you’ve already tried the steps above and none have worked out, you might just need to seek professional help. The problem might be deeply rooted in some other psychiatric condition you might be unaware of. A psychiatrist or a psychologist may be able to diagnose you properly and give you the right treatment if needed.

Responsible Gambling

Anyone who gambles always runs the risk of falling at the mercy of the house. And although not everyone does, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the necessary steps that are needed in order to prevent such a thing from happening. Below are a few responsible gambling tips that can fundamentally help you prevent problem gambling.

Responsible Gambling Tips

1) Gamble for Fun, Not for an Income

Before you start gambling, you should always view it as just a bit of fun rather than a means to generate more income. Bear in mind that casinos were set up with the intention of making money and this is exactly why the house edge exists. So, you won’t win all the time. The bottom line we’d really like to stress is never substitute gambling for a real job.

2) Don’t Chase Your Losses

When playing online casino games, you should be fully aware that you just might lose every now and again. And if you let the losses get to you, you’ll end up in a vicious cycle chasing your losses for the rest of the evening. Gamblers who use betting systems are fundamentally more prone to being caught up chasing losses.

3) Never Gamble with Money You Can’t Afford to Lose, Just Stick to Your Bankroll

No matter if you’re gambling at a brick and mortar casino or if you’re gambling online, you should always have a set budget in mind. You don’t want to end up leaving with nothing in your pocket and less than you thought in your bank account do you?

4) Limit the Time You Spend Gambling Online or at Land Based Casinos

Whether you’ve just started gambling or you’ve been gambling for years at brick-and-mortar casinos it’s very easy to get carried away if you have plenty of cash to splurge on online games. Our advice to you is simple – limit the amount of time you gamble at casinos.

5) Don’t Gamble when You’re Upset, Angry or Depressed

Gambling when you’re in a sour mood can often end up putting you in an even worse mood. You’re more likely to make mistakes if you’re angry or upset. So best avoid going to the casino or playing games online.

6) Try to Balance Gambling with Other Activities

Gambling online can be just as addictive as playing online video games with friends. And although both can be seen as problematic eventually, there’s one difference between the two – one involves real money. So, if it’s done for a few hours a day, this can result on your losing big.

In order to avoid becoming a slave to virtual casino games, we always recommend that you balance gambling with other activities too. It’s very important for you to take a break from playing casino games and enjoy other things in your life that you feel are worth your time and energy.

7) Don’t Gamble When You’ve Had too Much to Drink

Gambling whilst under the influence is terribly common. But just because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t mean that you should to. Sure, one or two drinks is fine. However, we never recommend drinking a whole bottle of wine or whisky and gambling at the same time.

Essentially, this can result in very poor decision making on your part such as placing bets of $100 when all you can afford to bet is $10 in a single round of Roulette or Blackjack. If you do so, you’ll not only end up with a massive hangover in the morning, but you’ll also end up with significantly less in your wallet too!

Responsible gambling services

Gambling can be extremely addictive for people who view it as their main pastime. And although it can be controlled, not everyone manages to do so. If you discover that you do have a gambling problem, you should never be afraid to seek help.

Call a Problem Gambling Helpline or Visit a Helpful Website for Assistance 

Below are a few help lines you can call, if you feel the need for assistanceL

National Council on Problem Gambling (Canada)

Helpline: 1-800-522-4700

UK GamCare

Helpline: 0845-6000-13

Gamblers Anonymous

Helpline: (626) 960-3500

Responsible Gambling Council

Play it Safe, Be Responsible

There are many things that are super addictive in this world and gambling is indeed unfortunately one of them. And although not everyone who gambles online or at brick-and-mortar casinos develops a gambling problem, those that do can suffer immense consequences as a result. When gambling controls you and how you spend your money on other necessary things, it’s time to back away from your favorite game of chance and take affirmative action.