Online Casinos and Problem Gambling
An estimated 20 million people worldwide gamble online at internet casinos. In 2007, Americans (who aren’t technically allowed to use online gambling establishments) spent $34 billion gambling at brick-and-mortar casinos, and that number doesn’t include the amount spent at Native American casinos.
There is no doubt that visiting casinos or online gambling is an exciting activity. Most people play purely for entertainment, while some online gamblers take the time necessary to learn the skills necessary for a game such as the many variations of online poker with the aim of winning money (at least more often than losing it). For many, there is definitely a “fun” associated with betting money on the game, and for a minority of those people, gambling turns into an addiction that can cost them their livelihood, family and entire way of life. life.
Problem gambling can be thought of as a spectrum of problems. While some people become seriously addicted, others sometimes get carried away with the thrill of betting, lose more money than they expected, and then quit when they realize the consequences of their actions. Others gamble when they are anxious or depressed, face life changes and try to enjoy a temporary distraction from the problems in their lives.
Most people can control their gambling with simple steps like limiting their bankroll and practicing their own standards of when to leave after a certain level of loss (or gain, for that matter). But there are others who gamble show signs of turning into an addiction. How can you tell if your online casino visit is no longer a diversion of entertainment, but a real problem?
One serious red flag is when someone gambles for money that can be used to solve financial problems, such as paying bills or debts. Borrowing money or selling important property to finance gambling are other strong indicators that one’s gambling is out of control. If gambling causes a deterioration in a person’s or his family’s standard of living or general well-being, that becomes a problem. And if someone does something illegal (or considers doing it) to fund gambling, that means gambling has gone beyond just being a form of entertainment.
Resources are readily available for those who think they may be addicted to gambling. Counseling, peer support groups, step-based programs, and even medication are used to treat problem gambling, although no drug is specifically approved to treat pathological gambling in the US by the Food and Drug Administration. Gamblers Anonymous is a 12 step program for dealing with problem gambling that is patterned after the 12 step program used in Alcoholics Anonymous.