For most gamblers who play online or in land-based casinos, gambling is a thrilling hobby where they could win some money, and consider any small losses to simply be the price of the entertainment. However, for a small segment of the population, setting limits and gambling responsibly is extremely difficult, and these people struggle with gambling problems. It is important to recognize the signs of problem gambling, so that people suffering from this disease are able to get help before their problem starts to cause serious harm.
- Recognise a Gambling Problem
- Question About Your Gambling
- Help for Problem Gambling in the UK
- Problem Gambling Help Resources
- Self Exclusion at Online Casinos
How to Recognise a Gambling Problem
Many people who suffer from gambling addiction or problem gambling don’t even realize that they have a problem until it is too late, and they have managed to cause themselves or their family serious financial harm. Some common signs of problem gambling include going into debt due to gambling, or family or relationship problems stemming from gambling. All gamblers should be able to ask themselves a series of questions to determine if they suffer from problem gambling.
Question About Your Gambling
Ask yourself the following questions, and if you answer yes to five or more of them, it is advised that you seek professional assistance as you may have a gambling problem:
- Does your gambling affect others?
- Have you ever lost a relationship due to gambling?
- Have you ever skipped school or work in order to gamble?
- Do you use gambling as a form of escape from an otherwise unhappy life?
- When you gamble, have you ever lost more than you can afford to lose?
- Does losing at gambling cause you great depression?
- Do you constantly think about gambling, even when you are not gambling?
- Have you ever lied about time spent gambling or money won or lost at gambling?
- Has your family or friends ever criticized you about your gambling habits?
- Do you no longer have interest in your family, friends, work, or other hobbies?
- When you lose while gambling, do you keep playing in order to chase your losses?
- Do things such as arguments with loved ones or loneliness make you want to gamble?
- Has gambling ever made you feel violent towards yourself or others?
Getting Help for Problem Gambling in the UK
If you feel like you have a gambling problem or may be developing one, it is important to seek outside help as soon as possible. In the UK, one of the largest and best resources for people with gambling problems is GamCare. GamCare is an organization that offers assistance, advice, counselling, and other education resources to help Britons overcome their problems with gambling. At GamCare, problem gambling is treated as a disease and no one is judged or made to feel bad about their problem, as their work is focused on finding a personalized solution for each person’s gambling problem. All of these services, including their 24-hour hotline for people who suffer from impulsive gambling, are offered completely free of charge.
Another organization with a strong UK presence is Gamblers Anonymous, which has meetings in all major cities and towns in the UK. At these meetings, people with gambling problems can meet other people who share their affliction, and by working together they can get improve their lives and learn to deal with their problem. Another similar organization is called Gamble Aware, and they offer support groups and counselling for people with gambling problems. These organizations can help people see how damaging problem gambling can really be, and help them get a hold of their problem before it destroys their life or the lives of their loved ones.
Problem Gambling Help Resources
The following websites contain valuable resources for people who think that they might have a problem with gambling:
- GamblingCommission.gov.uk – Responsible Gambling Section
Exclusion from Online Casinos
If you feel that you have a problem with gambling, you can take steps to protect yourself at online casinos through their problem gambling self-exclusion policies. All the top UK online casinos allow players to block themselves from gambling at the casino as a condition of their gaming licenses. This can be done for a certain period of time, or in extreme situations, you can request to be permanently locked out of the casino. In order to activate the self-exclusion you should contact the online casino through the customer support channels and inform them that you would like to be excluded from their casino, and they will prevent you from playing there.