For a small minority of people around the world, gambling can develop into a problem which can lead to numerous difficulties, both personal and social. Problem gambling is a behaviour that’s related to any form of legal or illegal gambling activity, which can cause harm to the gambler, and people around them, including friends, family members and colleagues.
Fortunately there are ways to identify whether you or someone you are concerned about may have already developed a gambling problem and the good news is that there’s plenty of help out there. Here I will be taking a look at some of the major tell-tale signs that may indicate problem gambling, plus I will also be looking at some of the most notable problem gambling organizations out there today that offer free and impartial problem gambling advice and support.
What to do if you or someone you know may have a gambling problem
Today’s best online casinos are required to actively promote responsible gambling, and this generally means that the casino must provide useful links to major accredited problem gambling organizations, with secure external links to their websites, and possibly telephone numbers too. Some of the most well-known organizations that deal with problem gambling by offering free counselling & support, and try to combat problem gambling in various other ways include Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare and Gamble Aware.
The best thing to do would be to visit the website of one of these reputable organizations where you can find useful tips on how to stay in control. These websites tend to have forums where you can read stories from other problem gamblers, and you can relate to others by sharing your personal stories, plus you can also find lots of other useful articles relating to problem gambling. You can also learn about how gambling works, and get access to free, professionally trained counsellors who are accustomed to dealing with problem gamblers. These websites also have one or two other useful problem gambling tools that some of you will find extremely useful.
You don’t have to give you name if you don’t want to, and some of today’s problem gambling organizations also have walk-in clinics where you can have one-to-one sessions or group sessions with friendly counsellors. Before you contact anyone about any concerns you may have, try and answer as many of these questions as possible. Hopefully, the answers that you give will reveal whether it’s time for you to get in touch with a responsible gambling organization or not.
Questions and answers about problem gambling
Take just a few minutes to read through the ‘15’ questions below, or get your friend or family member, or the person that you’re concerned about to answer the questions. Based on the answers given will determine whether the person answering the questions is a problem gambler or not and should seek help. You will often find that compulsive gamblers will answer ‘Yes’ to at least 7 of the questions.
Do you ever gamble until or your money has gone?
Have you ever thought about hurting yourself after gambling, or worse?
Have you ever gambled to try and pay off a debt or a bill?
Have you ever tried to chase your losses by immediately depositing after you lost?
Has gambling ever made you feel remorseful?
Do you gamble to try and escape loneliness, grief, worry, or any other troubles?
Have you ever lost time from college/university or work due to gambling?
Has gambling ever affected your personal/family life?
Have you ever borrowed money to finance your gambling habits?
Do you ever lose any sleep over gambling?
Have you ever used gambling as a way of celebrating anything good that’s happened in your life?
Have you ever committed a crime to fund your gambling activities?
Has gambling affected your reputation in any way?
Does gambling make your careless when it comes to home life and taking care of yourself/family (e.g. paying bills, communicating with others etc.)?
Can you stop after you’ve had a win, or do you still feel the need to keep on gambling?
If you feel as though you (or someone you know) may have an addictive personality, or if you’ve had struggles with addictions in the past, then perhaps it would be a good idea to steer clear of gambling altogether. On the other hand, if you aren’t too concerned, but still worry that you might develop a problem one day, try and follow these simple tips:
Always set as many limits as possible when you sign up to an online casino (e.g. set spending limits, deposit limits and session time limits). Remember to reduce your stake to correspond with your bankroll and never chase your losses. Don’t forget that you can also ‘self-exclude’ yourself from a casino for a certain period (e.g. six months, or six years), and during this time you will not be able to deposit or play at the casino. This self-exclusion setting is an ideal tool for if things ever get too bad.