Online casinos are sweeping the globe as the trend for gambling over the internet proves a popular notion with millions of new and experienced gamblers logging in and betting on casino games and sports betting online. With great power comes great responsibility and with so many millions exchanging hands on online gambling websites its inevitable that some players will end up gambling beyond their means. Gambling support bodies are in place to try and discourage and help compulsive or potentially compulsive gamblers but still fears are increasing, rallied by the press and media, that online casinos could be encouraging people to recklessly gamble away their lives. This article will look at both sides of the argument and give advice for anyone who thinks they may have an online gambling problem. Online gambling addiction- where? s the problem?
Gambling addiction has long been recognised as a problem in the UK and some studies show that up to 1% of US adults are? pathological gamblers? (an extreme type of gambling addiction which stems from a mental disorder). Online gambling has been particularly scrutinised following its boom in the past few years as gambling online may present a higher risk to compulsive gamblers due to its increased availability, privacy, high stakes and speedy gameplay. Why does online gambling attract compulsive gambling behaviour While online gambling is thought to have a higher level of addiction than regular forms of gambling, the most likely explanation is that higher than average numbers of compulsive or even pathological gamblers are being drawn to online casinos, betting shops and poker rooms and away from their high street equivalent.
Online gambling offers immediacy unlike many other forms of betting- the online roulette wheel is always spinning, the tables are always open and theres always a game or race going on somewhere in the world worth betting on. Accounts take just minutes to create and buy chips with using a credit card. You could potentially be betting within minutes of making the decision to bet- compare this to legislation in the UK which until recently meant people wishing to gamble in a casino had to become a member of that casino 24 hours in advance of playing and the appeal of internet gambling is clear. Online casinos and betting rooms offer other clear attractions for compulsive gamblers. They are private, unlike real casinos which are notorious for their atmosphere and spectacle. Problem gamblers are often not looking for this sort of experience- their? rush? comes solely from the experience of betting- in fact research has shown that true compulsive gamblers are not attracted to games or particular types of bet. It is the act of betting and risking the money which attracts them, the casino or bookmaker is merely a willing host.
Online casinos may also offer an easier point of entry for long term compulsive gamblers who are not welcome at their local casinos- such a policy is harder to maintain in the virtual space although the majority of online casinos would willingly ban problem gamblers given the chance. Will online gambling make me a problem gambler? The short answer is no, problem gambling starts with the player not the casino or bookmaker, wither real or virtual. If you have a compulsive prerequisite for gambling you may well find it more difficult to control your habit when gambling online for the reasons noted above. Problem gambling has also been associated heavily with internet gambling due to its ease of use, game rules are explained in a straightforward, easy to understand way by online casinos and tips are openly published by the casinos themselves as well as countless other sites online. This makes it easier for new gamblers to get involved, the problem with associating this as a cause of compulsive gambling is that compulsive gamblers will by there nature seek out this type of information regardless of the environment. How to protect yourself from addiction when starting out in online casinos If you want to start playing on the online casino tables or place a few bets online then you shouldn? t need to worry about getting hooked. Gambling is fun and exciting. People do win real money and the majority of people bet with a very small percentage of their disposable income. To set your mind at rest before starting out however here? s a few pointers for ways to control your online gambling behaviour and ensure you keep a check on your online spend and time spent gambling on the internet.
Give yourself a budget As gambling can get expensive, look at your financial position carefully. If you regularly get to payday scraping through on your overdraft or the last few pennies of your account with little to show for it can you really afford to lose money gambling online. Remember the golden rule- never bet more than you can afford to lose. You can win, which is great, but its always a gamble so you could lose. If you lose, can you get by without that money? Do you need to sacrifice other more important things to pay for the bet? Know your limits You should never be obligated into betting more than you want to in an online bet. Work out how much you can afford to stake in each bet you make online and don? t be tempted to up that bet beyond what you can readily afford within your budget. Remember the smaller you bet, the more bets you can make for your budget, meaning the experience of the game lasts longer. Work to a timescale You probably don? t want to spend all day in front of a computer playing online games, if this is all you want to do then this may be the first indication of a gambling problem and time for you to revaluate. Set yourself a time limit for your online gambling activity, like your budget this should be from your disposable time outside of work and family commitments. Be strict with yourself You should know if things are getting out of control. The first sign you? re overstepping your bounds take a step back, logout for a week or so and see if you still feel compelled to gamble. Successfully taking this step is a good sign you? re not? addicted? to gambling. A compulsive gambler would not usually have this clarity. Signs of a problem Look out for these top signs that you or a friend are beginning to become addicted to online gambling: * Your friends tell you there? s a problem- if someone else is noticing, particularly an online habit which is more private than regular gambling then they? ve probably got a good point. * You start experiencing financial problems- if you? re short of cash for essentials or even for usual hobbies then think about the cash you? re spending and perhaps losing online. * You start excusing your behaviour- if you feel its necessary to excuse your behaviour to yourself or others or are lying about your wins or loses then there may be a problem. * Your work or family life suffers- if other areas of your life start to change for the worse, relationships become more strained or your work suffers perhaps its because of the gambling. * You start borrowing money to gamble with- pretty obviously this is not a good idea What to do if you think you might have a gambling problem If you think you might have a problem with online gambling then help is available. Start by visiting Gamcare ( Many local communities and church groups also run programs to support addictive gamblers in the UK and across most of the world or a simple Google search will uncover plenty of online advice and support for people with gambling problems. About the casinos and bookmakers Reputable online casinos and bookmakers are always keen to prevent their players from developing gambling problems. Addictive gamblers are bad for a casinos reputation, they tarnish the name of the industry and are not good, reliable customers for the casinos as they tend to bet high, lose and move on to a different casino. If a casino or bookmaker appears to be encouraging you to bet beyond your means they should be reported to the relevant national gambling regulatory body. Roccos online casino (