Casinos have been popping up like mushrooms in recent years and online gambling is on the rise. As a result, more and more people are taking the occasional gamble.
Over time, however, some people can no longer live without the excitement that gambling brings and become addicted to gambling. Most gambling addicts are addicted to slot machines, blackjack, and roulette.
Online games seem to be extra addictive. Because you play them faster than in real life. For example, the cards don’t have to be shuffled. The computer does that. Also, you can play online games on multiple screens at the same time, you have 24/7 access to online gambling and you are not confronted with anyone so there is a lack of control. So you have to be strong in your mind to avoid online casinos.
Online gamblers often play multiple games. The majority also visit regular casinos. The most popular online games are sports betting and playing poker online. But people also often play slots, casino games, and bingo. Online betting on horse or dog racing or online scratching is less common.
Common gambling addiction is playing poker online. Poker is a popular gambling game/sport. Successful online poker players are often invited to big poker tournaments. Good poker players can win a lot of money. And that goal of getting better and better and having a chance to win nice amounts of money is very addictive. Starting to play poker online is very easy. Some websites even offer a starting amount or you can start with fake play money. When you play poker frequently and even tangentially with a gaming addiction, a poker addiction can turn into serious gambling addiction. Not only can a lot be broken in the relational sphere, but also a lot of money can be lost and you risk high debts.
Why do people gamble?
Gambling at first glance seems to have many positive aspects. Meeting and socializing with other players and entertainment make gambling popular. Other reasons may include:
- the winning of money
- the thrill of winning or not winning
- avoid negative feelings
- time use
Women gamble mostly because they are bored or feel lonely. Men become addicted to gambling mainly because of the money and excitement that gambling brings.
Characteristics of a gambling addiction
It often happens that those around you already suspect that you are a gambling addict, while you yourself do not see it or do not want to see it. This is because denying (“no, I’m not addicted”) and downplaying (“it’s not that bad”) are part of being addicted.
Are you wondering if you have a gambling problem? Are you worried about your gambling behavior? Are you in debt because of gambling?
A gambling addict slowly but surely ends up in a vicious circle. First, you play to win, and when you lose you play to win back the lost money. This can go on for a long time, resulting in high debts. Gambling addiction is characterized in particular by mental compulsion.
When are you a gambling addict?
What are the symptoms of gambling addiction? There are a number of signs or characteristics of an addiction that you can use to determine whether or not you are a gambling addict.
Here are the most important signs of gambling addiction:
- constantly thinking about gambling
- lying about gambling or money
- no control over gambling: not adhering to own rules and resolutions
- unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling
- neglecting social contacts
- neglect of work and school
Causes of gambling addiction
Why a person does or does not become addicted has several causes. Such as personal characteristics (seeking sensation or a negative self-image), factors in the environment (family, circle of friends), the type of game you play, and social factors.
Effects of gambling addiction
When you are a gambling addict, gambling gives you a number of problems, such as:
- mounting debts as you borrow more and more money
- stealing money or committing fraud to get more money.
- debts: in the long run you always lose, so gambling costs a lot of money.
- arguments: by lying and downplaying problems
- fatigue, exhaustion
- being restless
- loss of e.g. work, house, relationship
- loneliness: through neglecting social contacts
Withdrawal symptoms from gambling
An addiction to gambling is similar to an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Quitting gambling is difficult, also because the risk of withdrawal symptoms is high. The withdrawal symptoms associated with a gambling addiction are:
- sleep problems
- feeling unhappy
The urge to gamble is as strong in gambling addiction as the craving for alcohol is in alcohol addiction.
Online gambling addiction
For years, the number of gambling addicts decreased. One explanation is the disappearance of slot machines from snack bars and sports halls. Recently, gambling via the Internet has been on the rise. With the increasing legalization of online gambling, the number of people with an online gambling addiction is expected to increase.
Online gambling is very addictive. This is because:
- the Internet is always available: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- internet is anonymous: there is no social control
- higher loss: you play with virtual money.