We all love to bet and win at online casinos and sportsbooks, but for some people it can get out of control. If you're beginning to notice that you gamble because you need to, rather than because you want to, it might be time to start taking action to ensure you practice responsible gaming habits.
There are certain questions that you need to ask yourself if you are concerned about addiction to gambling online or at land-based casinos. If all, or most of the following statements are true for you or someone you care about, you need to think about getting help or modifying betting behaviour:
Some people are surprised when they learn that gambling can become an addiction, because it is not as obvious as something like drugs or alcohol. The truth is, human beings can become addicted to anything that makes them feel good, or helps them disconnect from their problems.
The bright lights and fast pace of casinos can feel exciting and distract you when you are bored or anxious, or you might be chasing the high that you remember from winning big. As you run into financial trouble, the anxiety and the pressure to win gets greater, and it can become quite a vicious circle.
Several organisations and charities work to promote responsible gaming, such as GambleAware in Great Britain. By educating the public about the potential for addiction, they aim to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm.
You don't need to drink every day to be an alcoholic, and some people who do have a drink every day are not in this group. The same can be said for gamblers. Also, if you are starting to show some signs of dysfunctional gambling online or in a brick-and-mortar casino, you might be able to take action before it becomes an addiction.
Only you know what you can handle, but the sites we review offer different tools to help you practice safe gambling. For example, you can set limits on how much time or money you can spend in a single session, and can implement a self-exclusion or cooling-off period where you can't bet at all after you've been playing for a certain amount of time, or have had a big win or loss.
GambleAware promotes these responsible gaming behaviours, such as with its latest BetRegret campaign. The idea is to help you avoid getting into situations where you place wagers that you wish you hadn't, or bets that you regret, when you are drunk, bored, chasing losses or alone late at night.
The key issue to remember here is that you can get help. Whether you need to put responsible gaming measures in place with your favourite online casino, or you need to seek support for the underlying causes of the addiction, it is possible to take action.
Once you've admitted that there is an issue to yourself and your loved ones, you can start to deal with it. Through hard work and access to the resources you need, from Gambler's Anonymous groups and meetings to safe gambling practices offered by online casinos, you can take control of your behaviour – and your life.
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