Playing should be fun and sometimes you can play more than you really wanted to. That in itself is not bad, it becomes critical when tangible problems arise from excessive play. At CanadaGamblingOnline.com, we take gambling addiction very seriously and want to be a safe, reliable and responsible platform for all gamers at all times.
Problem Gambling – The Historical And Cultural Background
Gambling addiction is practically as old as mankind, the most prominent example from recent history is probably “The Gambler” by Dostoyevsky. In the book from 1866, the author processes his own gambling addiction and how it downright ruined his life.
Even nowadays, gambling addiction is still a problem. Especially in front of the home computer, mobile phone or tablet, the user is left to his own devices and there are no corrective factors from outside. The constant availability of games on the Internet can also be problematic. The same goes for the faster sequence of games and the win and loss decisions. Most people can handle it, but a small percentage are prone to problem gambling.
But what exactly do people addicted to gambling depend on? This question is not only of concern to science. Some gamers who have run into trouble report that it’s not even the monetary gains that are addicting. Rather, they love the moment just before the decision is made. Specifically, for example, the moment before the roulette ball falls on a number, the dealer puts the card on the table, the reel of a slot comes to a stop, etc.
How exactly gambling addiction expresses itself, what the reasons for it are, what stages there are, how you can recognise them, what online casino do to protect minors and other vulnerable groups of people, what responsible gaming means and where you can find help can be found in in the following article.
Causes Of Gambling Addiction
Of course, addiction always differs from person to person; the reasons can be found in personality, biography and other factors. Gambling addiction is typically characterised by the inability of the person concerned to resist the impulse to gamble, even if this has profound negative consequences in the personal, family or professional environment. According to Wikipedia, men are statistically more likely to be affected by pathological gambling than women.
Science classifies gambling addiction as one of the so-called “abnormal habits and impulse control disorders”. This also includes kleptomania or pyromania. Gambling addiction has been recognised in the international classification systems DSM and ICD since 1980.
There is much to suggest that the main risk factors for gambling addiction are to be found in our brain chemistry. It is noteworthy that there are certain Parkinson’s drugs that can trigger gambling addiction as a side effect. And that also with people who have never had problems in this regard before.
The Three Phases Of Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction often develops gradually over a longer period of time. In the literature, gambling addiction is basically divided into three phases, whereby one should always keep in mind that the classic course per se does not exist. As already mentioned above, gambling addiction is always individually different, so that there are also many different courses. Nevertheless, there are three classic phases of the disease:
- Winning phase
The initial winning phase is characterised by occasional play and positive feelings before and during the game. In addition, there is usually an unrealistic optimism and the development of wishful thinking. Furthermore, the game is being played for ever-larger amounts and reality is increasingly faded out.
- Loss phase
In the losing phase the player trivialises his money losses, he brags about winnings and succumbs to the illusion that the losses have been compensated by corresponding money receipts. In the second phase, the player becomes increasingly isolated, his thoughts revolve more and more around the game and there are the first major losses. However, these are hidden from the environment, the person concerned gets into debt and is unable to withstand the game. All of this leads to the neglect or loss of friends and family.
- Desperate phase
The last phase of gambling addiction is characterised by a complete withdrawal from society and alienation from family and friends. The player’s personality changes, increasingly suffering from irritability, insomnia and other negative traits. He is plagued by remorse and hopelessness up to thoughts of suicide. The player hates the other winners and only spends money received on the game. He plays for days and no longer has control over his behaviour.
Problem Gambling – Alarming Signals
You now know the typical phases of gambling addiction and probably already have an idea of what to look out for. As I said, playing can and should be fun and of course, it can happen that you play a lot for a while. It can be that you play several days in a row and lose a relatively large amount of money in the process.
But that doesn’t mean that you are automatically addicted to gambling. Here it is similar to other addictive diseases – a few glasses of beer do not make an alcohol addict, a long shopping tour does not make a shopaholic, etc.
To find out whether you have developed problematic gambling behaviour or gambling addiction, you can, for example, do a self-assessment test online. But you can also ask yourself a few questions here and now that can bring clarity. Please be honest with yourself when answering the questions.
- Do you have to put in more and more money to get the same positive feeling while gambling?
- Are you constantly thinking about gaming?
- Have you tried repeatedly in the past to reduce or stop gambling?
- Is gambling a means for you to deal with negative aspects such as depression, anxiety, helplessness, guilt, etc.?
- Have you lied to people about the level of their gaming activity?
- Have you suffered negative consequences from playing in the past, such as losing your job or a relationship?
- Do you have serious financial problems from gambling and have you had to let others help you?
- When not gambling, do you suffer from negative handicaps such as restlessness or irritability?
- Do you often play longer than you planned?
- Have you ever thought of self-destructive behaviour or even suicide after playing?
Please note that these questions are for guidance only and not a rigid diagnostic scheme. The main indicator of pathological gambling is still that gambling has a strong negative effect on other areas of life and creates psychological strain.
Keep Gambling Under Control
Fortunately, top licensed gambling operators online are required to offer their players access to the variety of different measures and tools that help keep gambling fun and nothing but fun. Financial and time limits, self-exclusion schemes and minor protection software are only a few of them.
We do, as well, encourage you to get familiar with available sources and review the following sites:
How do I know if I have a gambling problem?
We have listed a few questions that you should ask yourself and answer honestly. If you recognise any alarming signals - don’t ignore them and instead take action right away.
I can’t stop playing - what should I do?
Get in touch with any of the available organisations that support gamblers who struggle with playing for real cash. You can anonymously get in touch with professionals who will walk you through the next steps.
Is gambling always addictive?
Gambling can be addictive but it doesn’t have to be. The most important is to always treat it as a source of fun and nothing else but fun. It should never become the highlight of your life, source of income or the reason for complicated and upsetting worries.
I think my family member might be a problem gambler - what should I do?
Although it can be a very sensitive topic, you should not try to avoid it. Approach your relative and share the worries you might have, as well as your assumptions. Don’t be surprised if they get upset or offended and will deny your allegations. Try to have a meaningful conversation, offer your support, as well as suggest contacting any helpful organisations.
Can I set any limits when playing at online casinos?
You can. All quality, licensed operators offer this feature to their players. Most of the time you can set financial and time limits, which will ensure you never cross the line you once have set yourself.