Why do people gamble? Most people gamble for the excitement and fun of it. With the power of the Internet, people can now gamble online. Online gambling is a fast-growing industry because gamblers find it convenient and accessible. They just need to plug their computers or laptops into an Internet connection, and they can start playing anywhere and anytime. But, how will you know if your gambling is starting to become a problem or an addiction? Here are the tell-tale signs.
Types of gamblers
According to studies, there are three types of gamblers.
1. Recreational gamblers consider gambling a social activity. They gamble with friends and peers and their gambling activities cause little harm to them and the people around them. They gamble with feelings of minimal guilt.
2. Problem gamblers spend a lot of time and money in gambling. Their gambling activities cause harm to themselves and to the people around them. They gamble with feelings of much guilt.
3. Compulsive or pathological gamblers already have an impulse control disorder. These gamblers can no longer control their gambling activities and behavior. They also cause a lot of damage to themselves and the people around them.
Most gamblers begin as responsible and recreational gamblers. Unknowingly, they may become problem and compulsive gamblers. Signs and symptoms of gambling addiction
Like other forms of addiction, people sometimes do not see the signs and symptoms of their online gambling addiction. The specific signs of online addiction are getting secretive about your gambling activities, having trouble in controlling your gambling, and gambling even when you don’t have the money. Because of these changes in your behavior, family and friends become worried about your condition. Would you like to assess yourself if you have a gambling problem? Try answering these questions with a yes or no.
– Are you sometimes absent from work because of gambling?
– Is gambling affecting your relationships at home?
– Is gambling giving you a bad reputation?
– Do you feel remorseful when you gamble?
– Do you consider gambling as a solution to pay debts?
– Does gambling affect your efficiency?
– After winning, do you feel a strong urge to gamble more?
– After losing, do you feel a strong urge to return to win back your losses?
– Do you borrow money in order to gamble?
– Do you often gamble up to the last penny?
– Have you ever sold anything for gambling money?
– Are you reluctant in using gambling money for other expenses?
– Do you gamble for longer periods of time than what you initially planned?
– Have you ever neglected yourself and your family because of gambling?
– Do you lose sleep because of gambling or thinking of gambling?
– Do you gamble to escape your problems?
– Did you commit or consider committing a crime to finance your gambling?
– Have you ever thought of killing yourself as a result of gambling?
– Do problems make you want to gamble?
– Do you always think of gambling for a few hours to celebrate?
If you answered yes to at least 7 of the questions above, you have a gambling problem. How to be a responsible gambler
Accepting that you have a gambling problem is the first step in overcoming your addiction. There are easy ways to keep you back into responsible online gambling.
1. Before playing, always set a budget and stick to it. In making your budget, only set aside the amount that you can afford to lose. Never borrow money in order to gamble, and never use the money that you set aside for other expenses, such as food and education, in your gambling.
2. If you are on a losing streak, leave the game while you can. Do not obsess about playing longer in order to win back your losses. And if you are on a winning streak, never stay longer because you want to keep on winning. Find the balance between the two and know when you must stop. Remember that it is only a game. A responsible gambler knows when it is time to stop. Aside from setting a budget, you can also set a time limit.
3. A responsible gambler plays just for fun. Never gamble in order to get money to pay off your debt. Your winnings in gambling can never be an income source. Also, never lend money to a friend who gambles.
4. Gambling should also never interfere with your relationships and work. Because you are gambling merely for recreation, family and work should always come first.
5. If you feel that you are falling into online gambling addiction, take up a new hobby to make use of your free time. You can learn a new sport or go out with your non-gambling friends to spend more time off the computer. If this does not work, block your access into online casino sites. How to support a family member who has gambling addiction
If a family member has become an online gambling addict, you can help him or her deal with it. First, set limits in managing your finances. If your family member, who is a gambling addict, is the one handling your finances, take over. This will lessen the temptation to the gambler. Second, you must be good in handling the gambler’s request for money. Gamblers who are already addicted to the game become very good in asking for money. They can plead, beg, or make threats just to get money. You must learn the right strategy in declining these requests.
Finally, you must also know how to properly treat people with gambling addiction. Sometimes, you might pity your family member and succumb to his or her requests for money or to play. Never give in to these requests thinking that it will be the last time. Only a thin line separates a responsible gambler from a problem or compulsive gambler. If you have observed any change in your behavior toward online gambling, seek support from family and friends at once. Do not let your gambling addiction control your life.