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Seeking Help for Gambling Addiction

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It is easy and common for people to turn towards gambling to entertain themselves and experience the thrills of winning. Gambling within your limits is acceptable.

However, when you find yourself betting more than you can lose, having an uncontrollable urge to gamble or getting stressed about gambling, then you may have an addiction problem.

It is important to know the signs of a growing gambling problem in order to deal with the issue in a timely manner. Let's take a look at these signs, along with the various resources available to overcome a gambling addiction.

Online Casino Gaming and Gambling

The progression from betting on online games for entertainment to a gambling addiction can lead to increased negative consequences for the player as well as their families or loved ones. Online gamers must understand the importance of recognizing the signs of addiction and take steps to avoid spiralling into obsessive behaviours. 

The easy accessibility of online casinos and gambling elements in online games are factors that increase gambling addiction risks.

Gambling Elements in Online Casino Games

In some online casinos, games are not played for winning money but players are rewarded with in-game coins and jewels.

In some games, players are tempted to play more to obtain character updates and weapons.

Loot boxes are another gambling element which you can buy or win during the game.

Understanding Gambling Addiction

Not all online casino players have an addiction issue, but those who are addicted may face serious consequences. A person addicted to gambling can use his savings or borrow money for gambling repeatedly. This might damage personal and professional relationships.

Many people feel that online gaming is harmless, little knowing that it can become addictive like drugs.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is when you cannot control your urge to gamble even though you are aware that your actions are harming you and others.

A person is said to have a gambling disorder if they exhibit any 4 of these signs over 12 months:

Gambling with increasing amounts of money to experience excitement.

Becoming restless and irritable when trying to cut down on gambling.

When repeated attempts to stop gambling have failed.

The person is plagued by persistent thoughts about gambling or preoccupied with old gambling memories.

Constantly devising new ways to procure money for gambling.

Gambling when feeling distressed or trying to gamble further to equalise your losses.

Jeopardised personal relationships or career opportunities due to gambling.

Physical changes such as weight gain/loss and sleep disturbances.

Road to Recovery

Once you are aware that you are getting addicted to online casino games, you must seek support to overcome this issue.

There are three main ways for getting help for gambling problems:

1. Psychotherapy

Group or individual psychotherapy and counselling sessions can help people overcome addiction and control the urge to log on to online casino platforms repeatedly.

2. Helplines

Organisations that provide support for gambling addiction have dedicated helplines which are manned by trained professionals who can extend support. They can also refer the individuals for treatment options if needed.

3. Gambling Addiction Support Groups

Anonymous gambling addiction support groups help gamblers to discuss their addiction issues. The members of these groups can also support and help each other to abstain from gambling.

These groups can go a long way in making people with gambling disorders feel less shameful and guilty about their situation.

Minimising Risks of Online Gaming/Gambling Addiction

Both online casino players and platforms should work together to minimise the risks of gambling addiction.

1. Player Initiatives

Responsible gaming refers to practices that ensure that online gaming is done only for entertainment purposes. It refers to you staying in control of your finances and wagers. 

Decide on the time that you are going to spend in the online casino before you start and stick to your limit.

Set yourself a self-imposed boundary for money that you are going to spend in the casino. Make sure you bet only the amount which you can afford to lose.

Ensure you take frequent breaks from playing. Take a walk or engage yourself in something that will distract you from gambling. You are your best judge.

Spot your early warning signs of addiction and take remedial action. Reach out to a loved one who can motivate you to stay away from gaming.

2. Gaming Operators and Responsible Gaming

Online gaming operators have an important role to play in promoting responsible gaming and preventing gaming addiction.

They should also provide robust solutions for helping players who have become addicted to gaming.

Player Protection

The gaming operator should have tools in place to set time limits and deposit limits.

Additionally, operators can make sure self-exclusion options are available for players, where a player can deactivate the casino account temporarily or permanently.

An exclusion option where a family member can request the exclusion of the player should also be present.

Educational Resources

Online gaming operators should have clear educational and addiction recovery resources on their platforms. The severe consequences of gambling addiction should also be listed in the online casino.

Online casinos can also include gaming addiction helplines and gambling addiction support group details on the gaming platform.

Conclusion

With a wide variety of games promising hours of unending fun from the comforts of your home, online casino gaming is becoming popular globally. However, understanding the potential risks of online casino gaming progressing into an addiction is very important for gamers.

The blurred line of demarcation between online gaming and gambling makes it more significant to practise responsible gaming. Most of the online casino platforms have measures in place to prevent gaming addiction. If you or someone you know has fallen prey to addiction, reach out to support services. 

Log on to Puntreview to check out the various measures to prevent gaming addiction in Indian online casinos.