Gambling addiction

To quote Ace Rothstein, Robert De Niro’s character in the 1995 film Casino: “In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.”

Placing bets should only be done with money that you can afford to lose. Since every single casino game has a house edge that’s favorable to the casino (aside from poker rooms), if you play for long enough, you are mathematically guaranteed to lose your money. This is why it’s crucial that you only bet with money with the idea that you are probably going to lose. Players can utilize strategies that boost the winning potential and/or go on long hot streaks, but knowing when to walk away with your winnings, or knowing when to stop after losing, makes the difference between having fun or feeling regretful.

What is gambling addiction?

Gambling addiction is similar to any kind of addiction. When a player thirsts for the thrill of placing a bet and gravitates towards playing at a near subconscious level, it can be a major sign of gambling addiction. Placing bets at a casino should be used with money you use for recreation and fun within a set budget. If you start using money that, if lost, will affect your financial situation, that is a major problem. A player should never rely on winning in order to pay bills or increase savings.

How can I avoid it?

Set a budget, and walk away when you’ve lost it. Increasing your bankroll immediately after losing all of it is a big sign that you might have a problem. If you go on a winning streak, you will eventually start to see some losses. When you do, stop playing and cash out. Another good way is to set a timer. Do not bet for hours on end, as you will get fatigued and begin to make poor judgments, including adding more to your bankroll or placing higher bets.

How can I identify if I have a problem?

The biggest identifier that you have a gambling problem is if you have financial trouble because of gambling. You want to avoid, at all costs, this thought: “I would have been able to avoid this problem had I not spent money at the casino.”

If gambling has caused you to lose time from work or school, have an unhappy home life, feel regretful, feel like you have to play more to win back losses, borrow money from other people or resources, sell valuables, or feel suicidal, you more than likely have a gambling problem. We are merely scratching the surface here as well, with 20 key questions that players can answer at Gamblers Anonymous, the most trusted resource in gambling addiction help. When filled out, the questionnaire will let you know if you should consider seeking help.

Where can you find help?

The aforementioned Gamblers Anonymous has live support ready to talk about problems at a moment’s notice, and Gamblers Anonymous has tons of chapters in Australia. This website has a calendar of local meetings, testimonials, literature, recovery programs, and other resources that can really help, and are proven to help. The most reputable online casinos and software companies will also allow players to be temporarily or permanently blocked from using their casino if they ask, meaning that if they try to visit the casino, they will be blocked for months or forever depending on their preference. The online casino will also direct you to helpful resources. One of the best places for most people to find help is among their friends and family by simply reaching out, though gambling addiction can also lead to bridges being burned, which makes Gamblers Anonymous and similar resources essential to kicking the habit.

Is online gambling more addicting than land-based gambling?

It’s not so much more addicting than playing at a land-based casino, but it’s more difficult to catch. For one thing, players can play in the privacy of home or on their mobile devices, so loved ones will have a tougher time noticing in comparison to someone routinely going to the casino. Land-based casinos also keep a closer eye on players just due to the limited number of players in their lobby, able to catch someone who’s been there for an exorbitant amount of time, versus an online casino, which may have hundreds of thousands playing at once.

Gambling is gambling. Whether you go to a local bookie, host poker nights, play the lottery, travel to a land-based casino, or play online, the thrill of placing bets in the hopes of winning money can be addicting and dangerous in any form, and the best way to avoid developing a gambling addiction is to practice responsible gaming and catch the early warning signs as detailed here, on the questionnaire, and in other resources. If you’re worried that you might become addicted because you have a tendency to express a compulsive personality, online gaming and gambling in general is probably not a good idea to begin with.

If you’re not having fun, stop. That’s what gambling should be all about.

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