Casino gambling is amusing, entertaining, and enjoyable. Yet, at times, it can become compulsive and bring about a significant loss of money or property. The person has to suppress a strong urge to play games of chance for money, but it’s beyond the bounds of possibility. They’re willing to risk something they treasure to get something even greater in return. For some people, gambling becomes an addiction. It stimulates the brain’s reward system just like drugs or alcohol. Consequences range from problems with finances to legal issues, such as the commission of crimes. Gambling addiction is, unfortunately, common, affecting as many as 1% of the entire population on the globe. Errors don’t cease to surface.
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Casinos get blamed for the current situation in spite of the fact that gambling addiction is caused by bad character, just to give an example. Contrary to popular opinion, casinos don’t enhance gambler’s cravings and desire for addictive drugs. They have set up various measures to deal with this growing problem and, hence, prevent gambling addiction, measures that are based on the lessons learned from experience. As far as preventing gambling addiction is concerned, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when assessing the issue. It’s important to look at the situation as a whole and see what is reasonable. Gambling addiction has social and economic impacts that affect not only the person in question. This is why it’s paramount to have collaboration between the authorities and the offline and online gambling industry.
Problem gambling: Why do some people become addicted
Gambling addiction can affect individuals of all levels of intelligence and from all social classes. The question now is: Why do some people develop an addiction while others don’t? Well, that’s a tough question to answer. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of mental disorders can influence the risk of addiction. Some of the risk factors associated with problem gambling are:
- Having an early big win
- Not clearly understanding the odds of winning
- Experiencing financial issues
- Having very few interests or hobbies
- Having a friend or a parent with a gambling addiction
- Self-esteem that’s tied to wins or losses
Placing an occasional bet is perfectly fine, but it shouldn’t become an obsession. In this situation, playing games of chance for money is no longer a pleasurable pastime, but rather an activity that disrupts or compromises your life. One study has suggested that the biological composition of the individual makes them addicted to gambling. What happens is that some people are born with fewer amounts of norepinephrine and develop problematic behaviors to compensate for this chemical imbalance.
The top signs of a gambling addiction
A person struggling with gambling addiction can have periods where the symptoms subside and wagering doesn’t seem that big of an issue. The symptoms of the disorder can form in early adolescence or late adulthood. Not surprisingly, men are more susceptible to this kind of addiction. Only very few women are tempted by the idea of walking into a casino or opening an account at an online casino. Speaking of which, the smartphone revolution has led to a high demand for online casino websites. Popular gambling businesses are doing their best to keep up with modern customers and their desires. The all-consuming nature of wagering expedites the onset of addiction, but it’s not responsible for it.
In what follows, we’ll present the main warning signs to look out for.
- Constant preoccupation with gambling
- The inability to quit and gambling despite the consequences
- Stealing or breaking the law to gamble
- Denying that there’s a problem
- Expressing guilt and remorse after gambling
Casinos set limits to stop the gambling epidemic
As mentioned earlier in this article, gambling can be very dangerous to an individual, leading to financial problems, addiction-like symptoms, not to mention mental issues. It’s no secret that problem gamblers are a burden for their families, social networks, and the communities they live in. Those struggling with addiction can join Gambler’s Anonymous meetings and put their lives in order. The meetings are all over, so it’s possible to find one even in the rural area. Responsible gaming advocates insist that more should be done. In this respect, state officials should work with the online casino industry to come up with effective measures. What is clear is that the current approach should suffer modifications.
Casino operators bear some responsibility when it comes to player behavior. Therefore, there are strict limits with regard to how much an individual can bet. The impact isn’t immediately visible, but change is a good thing. Tighter limits are set for games such as poker, blackjack, and other table games. Casinos understand that they serve the public good first and foremost, which is why they’re willing to go the extra mile to minimize harm, whether individual or collective. Here are other methods of effective gambling addiction prevention:
- Restricting availability and access
- Regulating game features
- Managing risk behavior
The right combination of methods has a high chance of success. In case you didn’t already know, some web-based gambling establishments prohibit the use of credit cards for payments. This protects gambling enthusiasts from the money they can’t afford to spend. Some casinos have even made changed to their loyalty programs. To be more precise, they no longer make available VIP schemes to individuals under the age of 25. Additionally, players who are eligible have to meet rigorous requirements. So, it’s not exactly heaven.
To sum up, it’s about time we stopped the blame game. People who play games of chance for money adults and they’re answerable for their choices. Casinos can’t make decisions for them, yet they play their part when it comes to preventing problem gambling. There are several organizations such as the Responsible Gambling Council that strive to change the future and guide casino operators on the right path. Regrettably, not every casino fights against gambling addiction, but there’s an exception to every rule. Despite growing efforts, it’s believed that some players will still fall victim to addiction. At this time, it’s important to understand that there’s only so much we can do to prevent gambling addiction.