Gambling always starts out innocently. This is supposed to be a fun activity that shouldn’t inflict stress. An activity that allows you to test out your luck and kill some free time. We strive to provide you feedback about casinos through our ranking process to help you find a good and safe place to have fun.
But to remain so, you, as a player, need to be aware of the risks and to have a good understanding of what gambling can cause if it spins out of control.
There are several causes for gambling for fun to escalate to compulsive gambling and turn into an addiction. Some, if not most people won’t even realize they have a problem until it is too late. And it is very hard to look for help. Here are several factors that can pose a risk for you as a player:
- False Expectations & Perception
Winning big, especially in an early stage of you starting with gambling, can really throw off your expectations. Gambling is not there to make you rich beyond measure, it is a hobby that should be practiced with measure.
Yes, some people are very good at it, but remember gambling is always a game of chance. There will be winnings and there will be losses. Even if you had the luck to win early on in your gambling experience, don’t expect things to stay the same.
Many gamblers become addictive to that rush when you win big. Stay alert for the pitfalls behind this sensation.
- Stress, Boredom and/or Social Exclusion
Gambling is an activity that can provide a great distraction from everyday life. Whether you are stressed because of something, have nothing more interesting to do or you’re just your own person with not very active social life, gambling would like to provide you with a fun and exciting experience.
Live casinos can even give you a sense of social activity. You should understand that trying to escape reality through the excitement of gambling can be very dangerous and addictive.
Thrill-seekers are prone to developing a gambling addiction simply because the rush of the win and the tense moment before you know for certain whether you will win or lose, fuels them. This is extremely dangerous since risk-takes tend to place big bets simply to up the stakes and increase the rush of adrenaline.
If you’re a risk-taker and a thrill-seeker, you should acknowledge the fact that you will be vulnerable to developing a gambling addiction.
- Difficult Financial Situations
Much like early wins and false perception, financial struggles can push you to compulsive gambling. The thought process always involves the notion that you only need to win big once to solve all of your problems.
This is how you end up gambling your last savings and with a lot of risks. However, if you don’t consider the possibility of losing instead of winning, you might end up in a worse position than when you started.
- It Runs In The Family
Much like other addictions, compulsive gambling can be caused by hereditary reasons. If you have family members with a history of addictions, you are at risk of developing one yourself. In such cases, you should understand and acknowledge the fact that you’re at risk, and better wait – avoid gambling in general.
These are just part of all the reasons that might push you from having fun to becoming a compulsive gambler. How it happens is strictly individual, but you should work to prevent it. Be responsible and always seek help if you sense that things get out of control.
Be Aware Of Yourself
There are steps you can take and signs to look out for when gambling to ensure your own safety or to stir yourself into action if things get difficult. Here are some ideas of how to stay aware of yourself:
- How do you feel while playing and after playing?
- Do you plan when you’re going to play next?
- How often do you think of gambling?
- Have you prioritized gambling over social activities?
- Are there sudden mood swings you can feel?
- Are you more irritable and easily agitated?
- Have you prioritized gambling over your responsibilities?
It’s never too late to seek help. Do it if you’ve started to:
- bet more for the thrill;
- bet more after a loss occurs;
- avoid problems or responsibilities through gambling;
- feel more stressed, anxious, and irritable when not gambling;
- borrow money to cover your gambling expenses;
- hide that you gamble from friends and relatives.
Examples of Prevention
To make sure you don’t fall in the thralls of gambling, there are some things you can do yourself when taking up gambling:
- Pay your bills and budget accordingly before you spend money on gambling.
- Never use borrowed money or credits to gamble.
- Don’t isolate yourself in order to gamble, keep your social life active.
- Make sure you spend enough time NOT gambling, either practicing other hobbies or with your friends and family.
- Don’t overlook your debts and financial situation.
- Don’t nurture unrealistic expectations of how much money you can make by gambling.
- Don’t ignore the problem.
- Don’t feel ashamed of your problem, talk about it with the people around it.
- Ask for help!
Casinos provide you with tools and options to help you prevent the development of addictions. You can handle yourself with establishing financial limits on the platforms you use to play or you can completely cut yourself from the gambling industry, depending on how severe is your state. Such options can be, but are not limited to:
- Deposit Limits – so that you don’t deposit more than you can spare.
- Loss Limits – so that you are restricted when you hit a given amount of losses.
- Cooling-Off Periods & Breaks – you can activate the settings for a cooling-off period in your account. Usually, such periods last 24 hours and they will restrict you from wagering any more bets.
- Blocking Casinos – you can block your access to online casino websites. Settings will vary from browser to browser.
- Self-Exclusion – you can close your account for an indefinite amount of time. Self-exclusion is usually related to being restricted to play online or in the real for a period you choose – from 6 months to up to 5 years. This is probably the most drastic measure of them all.
Getting Help Is A Must
When it comes to problems with gambling and compulsive behavior, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself and acknowledge the problem.
From there on out you have multiple options in regards to seeking and receiving help and support. Here are a few great places to start on your road to recovery:
Probably the most notable and recognizable institution that helps people cope with their gambling problems. It provides you with the tools, guidance, and help necessary to get your condition under control.
GamCare is another institution you can seek out for help. The UK charity ensures that you’re provided with effective support, advice, and treatment so that you can start on your road to recovery from compulsive gaming.
Gamblers Anonymous gives you the chance to become a part of a community that tries to heal its members. A place you can get a sense of understanding that people who are not in your position probably cannot provide.
There are numerous ways to get help for gambling problems. The most important part is for you to wish to fix what has been broken. Dealing appropriately with a gambling addiction is not only about you as a player and an individual. It is as much about the people around you.
Gambling is a hobby and it should remain in these boundaries. You should be able to enjoy the fun and exciting parts of gambling without risking your mental health in the process. Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Be a responsible gambler. Take responsibility for you and those around you that might be affected by your gambling problem.