Problem Gambling

slot machine, coins, gem and 7 with text Gambling problems

Gambling is a bit of a taboo subject because of the stigma that can come with it; gambling addiction. Problem gambling is something that can happen to anyone if they are not aware of the signs. Here, we will address the key issues on the subject of gambling and the detrimental effects it can have.

What is Gambling?

So, what is gambling and how can it be defined? Well, gambling is the act of taking a chance on which a stake is placed, and the odds of an outcome dictate the reward you will gain if chance favors you. Gambling in this instance is through gaming and it is the pursuit of the prize through chance or skill that will often result in a win of money or a loss of money.

Buying a lottery ticket and taking a chance to win millions of dollars might be worth the risk, given the cost of a ticket is so low, but the odds are so greatly high.

The most common concepts of gambling:

  • Lottery Games
  • Scratch Cards
  • Bingo
  • Sports Betting
  • Slot Machines
  • Card and Table Games
  • Horseracing

Gambling can take part in pretty much any location. The idea that it is only confined to bingo halls and racetracks and now old ideas. You can access the options to gamble everywhere now because it’s now most commonly accessed online and obtainable via your mobile smartphone.

Why do People Gamble?

Gambling in a gaming sense and for entertainment purposes has been around for millennia. You can go back as far as 500 B.C and find it written about within Greek history. Some researchers believe it to go as far as 3000 BC when a pair of dice were discovered in an Egyptian tomb. What we can tell, for sure, is that gambling has been with the evolution of humankind for a very long time.

Why is this the case? What is this need to side with risk and a willingness to take chance? Science and evolution theory would argue that without risk-taking the human species may not have evolved into the forms we are now. The need to preserve genes by becoming the best at something would require a great need for risk-taking and those that succeed were able to adapt and understand. Those failing in their attempts to beat the risks would not have been in the pool of stronger species to pass on their genes. In modern humans, gambling is all about the reward, the money that is then able to provide and if you can provide, you have the stronger genes.

However, there are additional arguments to be made as gambling can cover a broad range of reasons. Some choose to gamble as a way of actually de-stressing. But despite its euphoric cleansing abilities, the risk is loss and for that alone, responsible measures and understanding need to be heeded.

What are The Dangers of Problem Gambling?

The dangers of gambling today are as damning as they have always been, now, because gambling is more prevalent, the impact is far greater, given how we live as a society.

For many that pursue the interest in gambling, it is nothing more than harness fun on activities and games you enjoy. And for the majority that does participate, it doesn’t go beyond this simple pleasure, they may just buy a lottery ticket once a week or pop to the bingo once a month.

However, for others, gambling can be a daily pursuit for the perfect win. Gambling addiction is like any other addiction dependency be it drugs or alcohol. The links that bind these addictive qualities are neurological.

Dopamine is discharged in the brain which activates the feel-good sensation we get from winning. The neurotransmission is sending out signals to the body that the activity that is taking place is good, but it doesn’t tell you that you are addicted to it. This is where the conscience plays its role in making you aware that the repeated activity is not helpful in the greater scheme of things, despite how you may feel. If the conscience doesn’t raise the alarm bells, then it’s the addictive signs that should be making the player aware of the bigger picture.

In some extremes, gambling addiction can be a disorder, where gamblers will need treatment, these disorders are linked to those with compulsive gambling habits. For these players, gambling has become pathological and puts gamblers in the DSM- 5 bracket. DSM standing for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The diagnostics for this include: Episodic, which refers to meeting the diagnostic criteria multiple times, when the patients symptoms show signs of subsiding between the periods of their disorder for several months. This translates into persistent gambling, or continuous symptoms of their disorder that meets diagnostic criteria across multiple years.

It is considered to be in early remission if: After a full assessment of the disorder that were previously met, and since none of the marked patient disorder have shown signs for at least 3 months but for no greater than 12 months. It is considered in sustained remission when no gambling disorder criteria of the patient has been found within a 12-month period or longer.

Recovery from this is the same as substance abuse or alcohol withdrawal. Individuals can act violently and withdrawn; it will be a life-changing experience because it is cognitive re-adjustment in every sense. Gamblers going through such recovery are re-training the brain and their instinctual actions. The prevalence through council and support can take many years. One call for help can affect so much thereafter and it is for the greater good.

What are the Warning Signs of Gambling Addiction?

A common sign is that of repeated behavior. The dependency on gambling is the driving force behind why players will come back to the activity time and time again. The loop is predominantly formed because the player needs the reward, will come close to the reward, may just win enough and if the loss is too great, they will try again later.

They say a madman can be defined by that of a person who is repeating the same actions and hoping for a different outcome. This is essentially what the gambling addict is (in the loosest possible terms, of course).

At this point of play, win or lose and repeat, you would expect that will-power would be enough to help someone out of trouble, but the fact is, the gambler, knows full-well what they are doing and have a great awareness of the risks and what their odds or chance of winning at an online casino really are. There are inherent human qualities in some people that are just so submissive to the act of gambling itself that they could have been doomed from the start.

  • Lower Serotonin levels can trigger addictive behavior.
  • Impulsive personalities are more attracted to risk.
  • A need for a reward after any activity.
  • Unable to care for consequences or long-term effects.

These traits are often found in the characteristics of a problem gambler. For those on the outside of the gambling bubble, there are noticeable signs too that a friend or loved one is struggling with the gambling activities they have succumbed to.

Here are the most common signs that can be detected by players and those in their close circle of friends and family.

  • Increased spending habits.
  • Anxiety after a loss or from not being able to play.
  • Short-lived attempts to quit or cease going to casinos
  • Planning your next bet, thinking about past wins, and cash fantasies.
  • Lying about what you do and what you spend.
  • Denial about your addiction.
  • Negative impact on family because of financial loss.
  • Requesting money from those close to you or pursuing loans from banks.

Problem Gambling Self-Test Quiz

There are simple ways to test yourself and at GamCare they have produced a basic question and answer survey to help players learn more about their approach to gambling and to inform them if they have any issue regarding their time spent playing. Here are the simple questions of the test that you can take to see if you have any sign of addiction. You would score this from 0 to 10.

  • If you score 0 = Does not apply at all
  • If you scoe 10 = Applies completely
  1. “Sometimes I gamble for longer than I intend to”
  2. “Sometimes I lose track of time when I am gambling”
  3. “Other people say that I spend too much time gambling”
  4. “I devote time to my gambling when I really should be doing something else”
  5. “Sometimes I gamble more money than I intend to”
  6. “Sometimes I try to win back money that I have lost gambling”
  7. “Sometimes I gamble with money that really should have been used for something else”
  8. “I sometimes borrow money to enable me to gamble”
  9. “I do not want to tell other people about how much time and money I spend on my gambling”
  10. “People close to me think that I gamble too much”
  11. “Sometimes I feel bad when I think of how much I have lost gambling”
  12. “Sometimes my gambling has left me short of money”
  13. “I feel restless if I do not have the opportunity to gamble”
  14. “Sometimes I feel bad when I think about my gambling”
  15. “My gambling sometimes makes me irritated”
  16. “Thinking about the last three months, do you consider you have any problems with your gambling?”

How to Legally Gamble with Responsibility

The responsibility of gambling is not just cast upon the sole activity of playing games, there is the responsibility that you owe upon yourself to play inside of safe and legal casinos online. The responsibility of looking after yourself in an online environment.

The security and safety of the internet are a thousand times greater to what it is now than what it was, say 10 or 15 years ago. But it cannot go fully without caution that there are problems with fraudulent behavior, fake sites, and cyber-attacks. This will always be an issue lurking in some part of the worldwide web.

Playing online and doing so responsibly throws up many gaming facets that can help you to play with peace of mind and confidence.

For example:

  • At Casimoose, you are able to pick licensed and regulated services that are legal for Canadian players to join and win real money from.
  • Regulated casinos offer pre-commitment tools that control and manage your spending costs and provide game time limits.
  • You can download gambling site blockers to reduce the interest in playing.
  • Never gamble under the influence of alcohol.
  • Read all terms and conditions with bonuses and credit card fees.

There are indeed a good number of wrong ways of gambling online and there are some very good ways that will aid you in being more secure online, becoming wiser with your finances, and can help you to become a smarter player, that could really make a profitable return from their favored online casino games.

National Problem Gambling Support Agency

Education plays a large role in helping to highlight and inform players of the real risks that gambling does pose if not treated with the care it requires. The Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is a support program that provides professional assistance in the realm of self-help when it comes to gambling addiction.

There objective is to help construct a supportive system around addiction and mental health. Their services are there to train and educate. They develop online tools and provide resources that help share knowledge regarding the subject of gambling, gaming, and the technology.

The Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health or the CAMH for short, is the largest mental health service in Canada. They set the standards in gambling reform and social change.

The CAMH is supported by over 3,000 physicians, researchers, clinicians, support staff, and educators. Some 34,000 patients seek their support, advice, and care each year.

Getting support and help does not have to necessarily come from the largest services in the country. Provincial help is also provided in great abundance to give more direct focus on the education of localized gambling problems. Many localized therapists, support groups, and government charities exist from Alberta to Saskatchewan. Each providing helpful programs to inspire, learn, treat, and council players that call out for this assistance.

If you recognize that you may suffer from gambling addiction, asking for help and even talking about it is not easy in any given situation. We suggest you start more simply by just asking for some information and ease yourself into the educational side of things, if you need to go into the areas of therapy and support, let it be natural and easy for you to take those big steps.

If you feel that you are in a moment where taking a leap of faith is necessary, then find that courage to ask for help and support and take the challenge head-on.

Give it some thought, that’s the first step.

Provincial Problem Gambling Support Agencies