When your Online Casino Game Rules your Life (And what to do about it)

We all love to get online and wager a few pounds on a fun slot, table game or any other betting option. It is a way of relaxation, getting excited about something you enjoy and it can make you some money too. However, for some gambling, whether on or offline, has surpassed the fun and is controlling some players’ lives in not very positive and supportive ways. Find out here whether you have or are prone to gambling addiction and what you can do about it. 

What is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction can be defined as an urge to gamble while you actually don’t have the money for it and/ or don’t want to as gambling has a negative effect on your life. In addition to money problems your gambling might have a negative effect on your health, your work, your relationships and/or general functioning in daily life.  

What are the Signs of Gambling Addiction?

How would you know if you or someone else you know has a gambling addiction? There are certain signs that may tell you if you or someone else has a problem with gambling. These include:

  • Having difficulties managing or stopping your gambling 
  • Spending more money and time on gambling than you can actually afford
  • Always thinking or talking about gambling
  • Feeling the need to gamble more to win back any losses
  • Losing interest in other activities or hobbies
  • Neglecting work, study, family or other responsibilities due to gambling
  • Hiding or lying about your gambling from/ to people that are close to you
  • Gambling until no money is left and borrowing money, not paying bills, selling things or stealing money to continue to pay for your gambling
  • Needing to gamble more money or spend more time to get the same buzz or feeling of excitement
  • Feeling nervous, anxious, depressed, guilty or irritable due to your gambling activity

Whether the addiction concerns you or another person, it can be hard to admit to or discover a gambling problem. A problem gambler might go to great lengths to hide his or her addiction. 

What can I do to bring back the Fun?

The first step of tackling your gambling addiction is acknowledging that you are a problem gambler. There are several treatments that can help you with your addiction or the problem gambling of someone you know. These treatments include the step-based programme Gamblers Anonymous (GA) modelled after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), other peer-support programmes and counselling. A suggested first step after your acknowledgement of your addiction, is to contact a support group. The leading provider of free treatment and support for gambling addiction in the UK is GamCare. They operate the National Gambling Helpline offering free and confidential support and advice via telephone, email or SMS message. GamCare also offers face-to-face and online counselling. Other organisations in the UK that can help you with your gambling addiction are Gordon Moody, the NHS’ National Problem Gambling Clinic and Big Deal. The latter is especially geared at young people. 

Smaller steps 

If you are not ready yet to take the big step of approaching an organisation that can help you with your problem gambling, you can use your online casino account settings to limit the damage. At all reputable online casinos you can put limits on your account in terms of money and/ or time you spend. You can also block your account for several days, weeks or months. Setting these limits might demand some discipline and if you have the sense that you need help with your issue, don’t hesitate to contact one of the organisations listed above. 

Gambling is supposed to be exciting and fun. If you feel that is no longer the case, stop and get the help you or someone you know deserve(s).