We from Gambling’n Go understand that gambling problems may occur to just anyone, regardless of who they are or their lifestyle. We are aware that what should be a source of fun can lead to an addiction, and we want people to feel like they can overcome or keep away from it. Our job, therefore, is to bring information on how to avoid gambling problems.
Through quality information, we assist those who are already facing an unhealthy situation of gambling obsession and give helpful tools and resources to them or anyone who knows people facing gambling addiction. No personal information is necessary, and everything stated here can be put into practice by anonymous people.
When it comes to the pandemic, there are two facts that will lead the entire discussion under this topic before we head to the ways to avoid gambling addiction. One of them is that the pandemic imposes a severely detrimental effect on the mental health of people, and that might boost gambling problems. The other fact is that people tend to create statistics out of their conclusions based on what could be happening but has not been proven.
Basically, statistics have shown that the revenue of online gambling operators remained stable throughout the pandemic. While that indicates that they kept their income despite the shutdown of sports events, it cannot be used as an indicator that people started to gamble more. In other words, recurrent sports bettors might have relocated their funds to games like online slot machines.
Also, the many studies out there that collected data from gamblers (self-reports) should not be used as a source, as people with gambling addiction tend to underestimate their losses and time playing. In short, the facts without biases that could indicate otherwise are:
In short, gambling addiction remains a problem but did not become a larger one due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gambling addiction is a pathological behavior connected to gambling in any form. Also called gambling disorder or compulsive gambling, it occurs when someone cannot give up on gambling, no matter its negative impacts on that person’s life. Even when there is no money available, that person does whatever it takes to feed that addiction.
It is possible to have a gambling problem without being addicted. Problem gambling occurs when it already affects your life to a smaller degree, as the activity becomes a priority instead of just one form of having fun. As soon as the gambling behavior is not natural or is starting to take an important space in your life, that problem should be addressed immediately.
Problem gambling still allows more control and is more easily reversed than a gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction is a serious mental health problem that must be addressed whenever signs show up to the gambler or anyone around that person. It destroys lives simply because whoever has it cannot prioritize anything else but their addiction. As a consequence, everyone around that person – family, friends, significant others – is impacted as well.
It is impossible to predict when someone will develop a gambling addiction, but there are risk factors that play an important role in its development:
There are studies that suggest that the presence of one addiction – which may be gaming in general, alcohol or drugs, and any other form – might increase the chances of developing another.
As previously described, addiction makes gambling become the number-one priority in the life of a person. In other words, everything else that is important is set aside and can suffer the consequences. Therefore, that includes the financial life, the career, family and children, friends, and everything else that is connected to the addicted gambler.
All the money, time, and focus of that person tend to be driven to gambling to any possible degree. There is no way to be healthy and maintain an addiction, and people tend to suffer from low self-esteem, emotional disorders, and not eat or sleep properly.
The smartest and shortest way of dividing the compulsive gambling stages is into three parts. They might receive different names depending on where you look, but the best approach for them would be: Optimism, Delusion, and Desperation. The addition of a fourth stage called “Hopelessness” does not fit properly and does not transmit the correct idea of a severe health problem that can be addressed.
1️⃣ Optimism: It is not necessary to get remarkable winnings, only to feel the rewarding sensation that the money invested can be multiplied if you keep playing. That sensation is the foundation of gambling, and everyone will experience it. Therefore, it is essential to put limits and gamble responsibly.
2️⃣ Delusion: The second stage is when problem gambling initiates. Players forget that the purpose is solely to have fun and start trying to win at any cost, increasing bets and the time dedicated to it. It is important to reverse it at this point and avoid the establishment of an addiction.
3️⃣ Desperation: Gambling becomes a compulsion and what should be a casual source of fun becomes a relevant preoccupation in the life of the player. Plans to obtain money, skipping events, and dependency are clear signs that the gambling addiction is already installed.
After reaching the third stage, it is essential to seek professional help and the public and free assets those people have to reverse gambling addiction. Preferably, under any signs that gambling is acquiring too much relevance, apply our hints on how to avoid gambling, described further below.
There are the so-called gambling addiction types on the internet that reveal themselves as not more than click-baits with the simple description of different types of gamblers. It is important to highlight the severity of the subject and indicate that gambling addiction is a singular health problem and that differences obviously come from the individuality of each gambler.
Therefore, if an addicted gambler is more antisocial and gambles online and another one is a recurrent player of land-based casinos, that is a simple matter of personal preferences. The approach to cure gambling addiction will be adjusted to each person, with the help of a professional, and not based on assumed “types”.
Those that are closer to people who are developing symptoms of gambling addiction might be even better at detecting signs than the gambler. The test on the next topic can help people to self-evaluate gambling problems, while the signs below can assist anyone.
People who match one or more of those signs can also show physical and emotional symptoms that are usually connected to addictions. Differently from the signs, they are not obviously connected to gambling and should be analyzed with them:
The performance of a quick self-test does not eliminate the need to seek professional help and should only serve as practical guidance. While negative results do not eliminate the possibility of being a problem gambler, a positive one requires immediate help.
Make yourself or the person with an alleged gambling problem the following questions, answering with one of the four possible answers:
Those are the questions:
Scoring 8 or more indicates that you are probably in the risk group of gambling problems and should assess your situation with a professional.
The treatment for gambling addiction is directed to give the control of their lives back to people who are addicted gamblers. The level of intervention depends on how heavily the activity has impaired the life of each person. Among the possible treatments for problem gamblers, some can be highlighted as effective:
☑️ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Mental health professionals can assist addicted gamblers in sessions that aim at identifying the process that led to the addiction in the first place. Discovering those initial thoughts and directing both actions and thoughts the opposite way, always with a professional, has been shown as a promising therapy.
☑️ Medication: We prefer not to mention the range of medications that could be applied as their use does not imply success and might even result in worse consequences if not accompanied and recommended by a doctor. The correct application by a professional could lead to the cure of gambling problems.
☑️ Support Groups: Those can already exist for all the people with gambling addiction or be created by family and friends to support the one that is trying to get rid of the problem. Once in contact with agencies that are responsible for helping people with gambling issues, gamblers are usually directed to local support groups.
☑️ Rehab Programs: Similar to any addiction, rehab programs with the right planning can achieve great results. Some research is necessary for each case, and always with professional support.
Identifying a gambling problem is not easy, and it does not mean it will be easy to overcome it. Once it is past the addiction level, external help is usually necessary. The problem is not the gambler but the behavior that is developed with time. Therefore, the correct course of action for those who want to use self-help as the only or additional way of curing the gambling problem would be:
☑️ Understand your situation – Admit that you have a problem and acknowledge that it is not your fault. Accepting it allows you to properly face the problem, its roots and avoid its consequences.
☑️ Find alternatives to escape from situations that lead to gambling – It could be boredom, stressful situations, and even sadness. Whichever emotion drives the person to gamble, the focus is to do something else to relieve it—for example, getting with friends or listening to music instead of going to the casino or opening a gambling website.
☑️ Solve another underlying problem – It is possible that the person suffering from serious problems like depression, anxiety, chronic stress, or the abuse of a substance can turn to gamble. Acting on those problems might help escape the addiction.
☑️ Strengthen your bounds – As social beings, we benefit from being next to people that value us. Therefore, create or strengthen the bonds with those that are next to you, something that is never too late to begin. Besides being an alternative to gambling, they will be there for you when you need them.
In combination with the actions above, there are tips to deal with urges and gambling cravings that will most probably appear at some point.
While standing against a gambling problem is possible, it is also difficult, and the impulse for gambling will pay a visit a couple of times. Identifying those urges to gamble and replacing those cravings for other thoughts is a healthy way of dealing with it as part of the natural process. Some valuable hints to deal with gambling cravings include:
1. Plan your day ahead and make sure to always have something to think of or do.
2. If the thought comes to mind, change the focus by immediately enrolling in something entirely different that preferably demands problem-solving.
3. Do not think too much of the future. Every day is a battle, and you do not need to preoccupy yourself with what will happen several days ahead.
4. Dedicate some time to hobbies that you forgot or that you never dedicate enough time to.
5. Delete any notifications or reminders and do not seek information on any events connected to gambling, even sports events.
6. Find stress-relief situations or activities, like meditation, and introduce them to your routine.
7. Always answer any gambling thought with the certainty that gambling equals accepting that you will lose.
8. Learn to identify any triggers that used to lead to thoughts on gambling and actually placing bets. Avoid them so that you do not feel even more tempted.
9. Write a list or a small message that helps you remember all the great things for which you are grateful.
10. Associate unpleasant and unrelated thoughts to the gambling brands or triggers.
11. Just for today, say no. Thinking of forever and stopping gambling for good may seem like a strenuous effort. Instead, delay that decision another day, and keep the promise every day.
12. Set financial goals and accomplish them, reminding yourself that you would not acquire that asset if you were gambling that money.
By using the tips to deal with gambling urges, you are already halfway into avoiding relapses. Stopping to gamble for good and never going back to it is the final result of a process, and it has a few basic foundations that lead to it.
Together with all the actions above to both deal with gambling urges and avoid relapses, it is essential to identify that problem gambling can ruin a life. The consequences are unlimited in all possible domains: financial, marital, social, health, and so on. Imagining the ruin of everything around you, including the life of others, is a necessary effort.
Another great strategy to avoid relapses is to find supportive people and keep them near you, reminding yourself that your time with them is one of the most valuable things you have in life. Prefer to be with them rather than being alone, and the gambling thoughts will come less often.
As already mentioned, support groups exist, and people can be directed to them with proper assistance.
Using free or social gambling alternatives is not the best strategy to solve gambling addiction. Instead, the focus should be totally driven to anything else that is unrelated, and that might include:
Teenage gambling addiction is a reality in many countries, regardless of the minimum legal gambling age. Many teenagers are especially prone to several different types of addiction, and casino games can become one of them. It might start with apparently harmless challenges or playing cards with friends for money and result in the awful consequences of gambling problems.
Since those people are in a very fragile moment of their lives, it is even more important to have as much local and family support as possible. Although difficult in some cultures, keeping up with the routine of teenagers and identifying the first signs and symptoms of addiction can make a difference in how they will live the rest of their lives.
The statistics differ depending on the region or country that is studied, but children and teens tend to begin gambling via similar gateways. Some of them are influenced by older people, sometimes in their own families, the same way it occurs with alcohol. Unaware of the harm that might have in the development of an underage person, they even encourage it.
On the other hand, the fearless soul, especially in the case of teens, tends to support challenges and dares. That explains the recent agitation on online challenges on YouTube and Instagram that were getting dangerous. Adding money to them might make them feel like it is worth a shot, and that can later lead to other forms of gambling.
Incapable of entering land-based casinos and with the verification of online casinos, those places are not often regarded as the main gambling options for children and teens. Instead, those that are already captivated by gambling tend to seek unofficial card and game tables elsewhere.
Even so, a small percentage, around 3-6%, as per the statistics above, manage to gamble in sports and casino games. Also, it is not hard for them to acquire scratch cards or lottery tickets in some jurisdictions, which can lead to addiction.
Prevention strategies should begin similarly to any other form of addiction, which means knowledge and open conversation. Through a realistic view of what gambling truly is, it will not be seen as harmless entertainment, which may lead to a lack of control and addiction later.
Also, the quality of family life and school affiliation, which are clear signs of a satisfying social life, were identified as factors that would keep children and teens from gambling problems.
It should also be pointed out that prevention works even when gambling problems have already started to appear. Reversing it is possible, but it is necessary to identify the signs that can indicate that there is something going on that can lead to solid gambling addiction. In summary, explaining and talking about gambling with facts and making sure that person is in a safe social circle, plus acting on the identification of signs, are how it can be prevented.
The signs of gambling addiction or problems are similar to those related to other types of addiction or risky behavior. Therefore, even when nothing relates to gambling, that teen or child is most probably requiring support. The warning signs that everyone around should pay attention to include:
Like any other addiction, gambling problems can result in harmful effects in the life of the teenager, as well as for the people around. The consequences to those people due to gambling addiction range from mild to severe:
1. Assemble a reunion and develop the best way to approach the teenagers that probably face those problems, and then have the person they trust the most to talk to them.
2. Talk with your kids or those under your responsibility about gambling, how it is not meant to win or become rich, and how odds really work.
3. Explain that the prohibition is not a challenge to them but a way to safeguard their financial and emotional integrity.
4. Block any websites that are meant for those above 18 years old, including games.
5. Do not support or encourage any type of gambling, knowing that the person is still too young to control the impulse to play.
6. Keep track of the routine and what the teenager does, preferably through conversations.
7. Make sure that person has a solid and healthy social environment, counting family, friends, and school.
Helping someone with a gambling problem starts by acknowledging that the person is not in that situation because she wants to. Assistance must come as a gradual process through supportive actions and counseling and not through imposition. The first thing to do is to talk with that person and compare the signs and symptoms of gambling addiction.
Having an urge to solve the problem is natural but cannot be achieved when you want to help someone stop gambling. Instead, convince that person to seek professional help, as there is where the solution lies. While problem gambling can be solved with the alternatives given above, addiction can be treated with psychological sessions and support groups.
❌ Myth: Only those that gamble every day are addicted.
✔️ Fact: The impact on the life of the gambler and other people dictates the addiction and not the frequency.
❌ Myth: There is only a problem when it results in financial issues.
✔️ Fact: Gambling addiction can impact people’s lives in many ways other than finances. Severe health problems like depression and ruining social bonds are among the most important ones.
❌ Myth: Giving money is a form of supporting a gambler with problems.
✔️ Fact: The problem should be addressed directly, or that money will most probably be gambled. Find help and try to provide assistance without giving money until it is safe to do so.
❌ Myth: Smart people and those with strong will cannot get addicted.
✔️ Fact: Anyone can get addicted, and most of the gamblers are intelligent people facing a serious problem.
❌ Myth: You can just keep the gambler away from the games and bets.
✔️ Fact: The treatment is a long process, and it is not possible to prevent someone from seeking an addiction by prohibiting it.
Like any other addiction, gamblers can find a cure and live the rest of their lives without the psychological, physical, and social consequences. However, it is a long process and does not differ from other addictions, except in its goal. The only way to do it is to start, preferably with professional help and group support, and never leave the treatment.
By following the tips to assess and treat gambling addiction, it is possible to live a normal life again. For those that are only curious and do not find themselves with a gambling problem, it is essential to gamble responsibly as no one is entirely free from that possibility.
People who know someone with gambling problems or that are facing any signs of it themselves can find free support through phone or using the websites below.
|Austria||+43 1 544 13 57||spielsuchthilfe.at|
|France||+33 02 40 84 76 20||ifac-addictions.fr|
|Germany||+49 0800 1 37 27 00||spielen-mit-verantwortung.de|
|Italy||+39 800 55 88 22||iss.it|
|Norway||+47 800 800 40||hjelpelinjen.no|
|Portugal||+351 213 950 911||jogoresponsavel.pt|
|Spain||+34 900 200 225||fejar.org|
|Sweden||+46 020 819 100||stodlinjen.se|
|Switzerland||+41 021 321 29 11||suchtschweiz.ch|
|The Netherlands||+31 0900 217 77 21||agog.nl|
|United Kingdom||+44 0808 8020 133||www.gamcare.org.uk|
|Argentina||+54 0800 3330333||juegoresponsable.com.ar|
|Brazil||+55 11 3229 1023||jogadoresanonimos.org.br|
|Chile||+56 9 222 3860||psicologosludopatiachile.cl|
|Uruguay||+598 098 111 533||jugadoresanonimos.com.uy|
|Hong Kong||+852 852 1834 633||gamblercaritas.org.hk|
|Singapore||+65 800 666 866||ncpg.org.sg|
|South Africa||+27 11 026 7323||responsiblegambling.org.za|
|Australia||+61 1800 858 858||gamblinghelponline.org.au|
|New Zealand||+64 0800 654 655||gamblinghelpline.co.nz|
|Canada||Please check on each website.||Alberta British Columbia Manitoba Newfoundland Ontario www.gamtalk.org/ www.problemgambling.ca/|
|United States||+1 800 522 4700||ncpgambling.org|
The websites provided for each country should suffice in most cases. Even so, those looking for additional resources can check the following sources:
✔️ Gambling Psychology – article about the psychology of gambling.
✔️ BeGambleAware – an independent organization for help and counseling.
✔️ ProblemGambling.ca – quiz, monitoring tools, and forum related to gambling addiction.
✔️ Financial Strategies – keep control of the expenses of gamblers.
Lapses might happen, but that does not mean you will not succeed. In case you have a lapse, start again and make sure to identify the reason that led you to it the last time.
Take a moment to check the signs and symptoms we mention in this article and see if you can relate them to that person.
Understand that it is not your fault, as other people are capable of making their own decisions. Start by talking with them to make them understand they should seek treatment.
Yes, every addiction can be cured under the correct treatment. However, most of the time, the behavior that led to addiction might need to be interrupted.
Gambling addiction is not directly connected to an amount, and it is possible to develop it with any range of bets, and high rollers might as well have full control of their activity. Instead, focus on the apparition of negative consequences.
The cause of a gambling problem is the inability to control the impulse to gamble, and that might occur to anyone, as it is connected to our reward system in our brain.
The gambling industry must provide policies and programs to address and help minimize problem gambling.
Yes. Children and teenagers might even be more prone to addiction, and that is why gambling is usually prohibited to them, depending on the jurisdiction.
Yes, and it might even be harder to control as the games and bets are always only a click away. That is why the problem must be addressed as soon as possible.
Yes, it is a mental illness that people develop in life but has no relation with cognition or intelligence. People in that condition need help to re-establish normal mental health.