At Safe-Online Casinos we believe gaming should be entertaining but not hazardous to you nor those around you. We seriously recommend that you get in touch with someone if you have a gambling problem or know of anyone who may need your help. Here we provided a short introduction to 'gambling addiction' or, compulsive gambling.
While gambling is meant to be an enjoyable experience, it is possible to develop an unhealthy pattern of behavior with very serious and very negative consequences. This in turn eliminates any of the 'enjoyment' associated with gambling. The latest statistics on Gambling in South Africa indicate that 50% do not gamble at all. 47% take part in recreational gambling. It is estimated that incidences of problem gambling are at 2.5% in South Africa, while pathological gambling is around 0.5%. Statistics vary for different groups and different countries.
Gambling addiction is a very serious problem and it's worth educating yourself about it BEFORE you begin visiting casinos online or elsewhere.
Here are several signs to look out for when determining if you or someone else is developing a problem:
- Increasing the frequency and the amount of money gambled
- Spending an excessive amount of time gambling at the expense of job or family time
- Being preoccupied with gambling or with obtaining money with which to gamble
- Gambling creates a special and intense pleasure, an aroused sense of being "in action"
- Continuing to gamble despite negative consequences such as large losses, or work or family problems caused by gambling
- Borrowing money to gamble, taking out secret loans, or maximizing credit card
- Bragging about wins but not talking about losses
- Recurrent mood swings, higher when winning, lower when losing
- Gambling for longer periods of time or more money than originally planned
- Secretive behavior such as hiding betting slips or receipts; having mail, bills, etc., sent to work, a P.O. box or other address
Gambling is a familiar behavior that is not considered a disorder until the symptoms listed above are displayed. Similarities between Pathological Gambling and the development of substance dependence are evident. Initially, many gamblers report feeling "high" and success leads to increased gambling which in turn might result in an overly large amount that exceeds the gambler's resources. Naturally, this then leads as well to overconfidence and risk-taking behavior that otherwise would not occur normally.
Early detection is essential. If the problem is allowed to go on, personal relationships may finally begin to suffer and financial and legal difficulties may begin to surface.
The behavior frequently develops from occasional gambling to habitual gambling and then, the urge to gamble becomes so great that the tension can only be relieved by more gambling. Hence, a pattern of addiction emerges. Players begin to player higher stakes and take larger risks. They may begin to ignore friends and family and neglect other responsibilities. The 'exact' cause is actually unknown and it's not definite if some people are more predisposed to the behavior than others. In any case, it's important to recognize the problem as early as possible to be in a better position to correct it before more serious consequences occur.
When you stop enjoying yourself it is a sign that you are no longer gambling responsibly. A great way to know whether or not you are gambling responsibly is to regulate your activities in and out of the casino. Think of it as a checklist of simple questions that you should ask yourself every now and then.
The following is a 20 question self-check quiz. According to Gamblers Anonymous, answering 'yes' to 7 of these indicates that you have or are beginning to acquire a gambling addiction:
- After a win, do you feel an urge to continue gambling?
- Do you ever borrow money to finance your gambling?
- Do you feel you must win back your losses after losing?
- Do you gamble longer than what you intended to?
- Do you gamble until you have no more funds left?
- Does gambling give you a bad reputation?
- Has gambling ever caused you to feel unhappy?
- Do you feel regretful after losing?
- Do you use gambling as a way to celebrate something good?
- Do you miss work to gamble?
- Do you ever gamble as a way to pay back debts or solve financial difficulties?
- Have you ever sold anything in order to finance you gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use your gambling funds for other expenses?
- Do you gamble in order to escape worry or things that are troubling you?
- Does gambling cause you sleeping difficulties?
- Does gambling decrease your ambition or efficiency?
- Do arguments or frustrations give you an urge to go and gamble?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act in order to finance you gambling?
- Does your gambling interfere with or damage the welfare of your family and friends?
- Have you ever attempted or considered suicide as a result of your gambling?
If, however, you feel that you are losing control over your new hobby and finances, get help now!
The behavior frequently develops from occasional gambling to habitual gambling and then, the urge to gamble becomes so great that the tension can only be relieved by more gambling. Hence, a pattern of addiction emerges. Players begin to play higher stakes and take larger risks. They may begin to ignore friends and family and neglect other responsibilities. The 'exact' cause is actually unknown and it's not definite if some people are more predisposed to the behavior than others. In any case, it's important to recognize the problem as early as possible to be in a better position to correct it before more serious consequences occur.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat the problem and organizations exist which are designed to inform and help anyone suffering from gambling addiction. The National Responsible Gambling Programme is probably the most recognizable organization dealing with gambling problems in South Africa and is a good place to start. Online casinos as well (at least, the reputable ones) usually include links on their sites to other sources of information on problem gambling and support policies and initiatives designed to combat addiction.
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