Problem Gambling - Recognition and Assistance

Published on: October 29, 2008 

The dividing line between passionate gambling and problem gambling is very thin and gamblers often cross it before realizing that they are there. Once the line is crossed then it is like quicksand. Everything the player does only takes him deeper. Players begin to spend long hours online flitting from casino to casino. They stop spending time with their family and even do not go to work in order to gamble. They first dip into their savings, then cut down on essential expenditure, then start borrowing and in the worst case stealing in order to fulfill their desire for gambling. And all the time they are hoping to hit that ever-elusive jackpot that will set everything right.

 Recognize Problem Gambling

In order to avoid falling into the nightmarish situation described above players should be aware of the symptoms of problem gambling and should be on the lookout if they are exhibiting those symptoms. All it takes is a few minutes introspection at the end of the day but those few minutes can save their lives. The player should ask himself the following questions that are self-explanatory.

  • Do I feel uncomfortable in any way if I am not gambling?
  • Am I gambling because I am uncomfortable spending time with friends and family?
  • Have I lied to my spouse or friends about how much time I spend gambling or how much money I am losing?
  • Do I feel guilty about gambling so much?
  • Am I planning to spend the money I have not won?
  • Am I losing more money now than I was a month back or six months back?
  • Am I losing more money than I can afford to?
  • Am I diverting funds from needs that are more pressing than gambling?
  • Am I gambling for more hours now than I was a month back or six months back?
  • Am I gambling at work?

Assistance for Problem Gambling

If on the basis of his introspection the player feels that he may be having a problem gambling issue he should immediately seek professional help. Associations that help problem gamblers exist in most countries and links to their web sites are available in all good online casinos under the Responsible Gaming section.

GamCare is a leading authority in addressing the social impact of gambling in the United Kingdom. It also offers individual help to problem gamblers. Players can contact GamCare through its national telephone help line and arrange for face-to-face or online counseling as may be convenient. GamCare neither condemns gamblers nor tries to prevent them. Its objective is to remove dependency on gambling and promote responsible gaming.

The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) is a similar organization in the United States. It is affiliated to the American Gaming Association. It carries out research in the understanding and treatment of problem gambling. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is another organization that provides resources and counseling in this area.

Links to sites that offer help for those with gambling problems:

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