Responsible Gambling is an important issue and is often mentioned in relation to problem gambling, gambling addiction and pathological gambling. Here, you will find everything you need to know about issues with gambling, how to recognise problems, and where to get help if you are concerned for yourself, or your friends and family.
Why Is This Topic So Important?
Gambling can (although not necessarily) lead to gambling addiction. This problem gambling can lead to serious financial and social problems, and therefore should not be underestimated by any means. Players may find that their gambling behaviour has gone out of control and they need help and support to manage the situation. Slot machines have the highest addiction rate. This is mainly due to the fast gameplay, and the various visual and audio effects which can engage the player more efficiently than other casino games.
What Is Problem Gambling?
In general terms, problem gambling is characterised by numerous difficulties in restricting time and/or money spent on gambling, which can lead to negative consequences for the gambler, other people and the community as a whole. Basically, any form of gambling that causes harm to the gambler or others can be deemed problem gambling. Pathological gambling, or gambling disorder is classified as similar to substance-related addictions, rather than an impulse control disorder. There are 9 symptoms which are used to assess whether a person has a gambling disorder. These include the need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the same level of excitement, lying to conceal the extent of a gambling habit, chasing losses and increased gambling during times of distress. If 4 of the 9 symptoms are experienced within a 12 month period, the gambler can be diagnosed as having a gambling disorder.
Who Is Most at Risk of Becoming Addicted?
There are various reasons and different factors that can lead to someone becoming addicted to gambling. As already mentioned, gambling does not necessarily lead to gambling addiction. Yet it has been found that certain types of people can be more susceptible to gambling addiction. Triggering factors for problem gambling can include certain personality traits (e.g. lack of impulse control, narcissistic attitude), genetic or neurological conditions (lower levels of norepinephrine or serotonin deficiencies) and mental health disorders (depression, anxiety). Plus, social factors such as education, religion, health and occupation can also play a part.
How Can I Test Myself?
There are various self-assessments available online, that you can take to help identify if your gambling is at a problematic level. Generally speaking, these tests work merely as an indicator of any problems, and it is highly recommended to seek professional help to deal with your gambling habits. You should treat the problem as soon as possible, before any serious harm happens. By speaking with a counsellor or psychologist, you can ensure that you get specific help and advice tailored towards your specific situation and needs. But of course, these self-assessments are a good starting point for you to notice if you are in danger, and give you a quick, simple (and anonymous) summary of your general situation.
The Next Steps – Organisations That Can Help
It is extremely important to take the issue of problem gambling seriously. Left untreated, it can lead to disastrous consequences, like losing all of your money, your home and even your family. The self-assessment is the first step in recognising you have a problem, but you should also listen to your friends and family, they may identify problems with your behaviour before you notice it yourself. When a problem is identified, you should seek help and support without delay. Another recommended action is to be upfront and honest with your relatives, rather than shamefully hiding the true extent of your problem from your nearest and dearest. You would be surprised how caring, understanding and supportive your relatives can be when they understand your situation. Plus, it is often an easier road to recovery when you have the support of your loved ones behind you. On the other hand, if a family member opens up to you about their own gambling problems, it is important to refrain from accusations and blame. It will not help the situation and will often lead to the affected problem gambler withdrawing away from their family for support. There are various charities and organisations that you can contact for support with problem gambling. You can even bring your relatives for moral support in taking the first step to recovery. Such organisations include gambleaware.co.uk, gamblersanonymous.org.uk and gamcare.org.uk. These are all recommended by the official regulatory body, the UK Gambling Commission. On their website, you will also find various other contacts providing support via helplines and meetings. There are also contact details for useful services such as Citizens Advice, the Samaritans and debt consulting.
Only Play at UK-Licensed and Regulated Casinos
If you want to gamble online, you should only play at casinos which are licenced and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. Reputable, licenced UK casinos work together with various charitable organisations to implement tools to help their players recognise problem gambling. They also provide options for players to limit their playing time as well as the amount they bet and deposit. They also provide the option to self-exclude entirely, either for a limited time or permanently. The staff at UK regulated online casinos are extensively trained to recognise problem gambling, and to help individuals to deal with their problem effectively.