Responsible gaming is a very important aspect of the gambling ecosystem. Problem gambling can lead to many issues, which responsible gaming does not. Whilst it might be easy to blame the gambler with the problem, the truth runs much deeper than simply assigning blame as there can be many underlying causes. Read on to find out more about how to gamble responsibly.
What is responsible gaming?
Responsible gaming is the act of gambling responsibly. While gambling is designed to be a fun and entertaining activity, gamblers can fall into the trap of gambling addiction. As this article will show, this can have negative effects on one’s mental, physical and financial life. Responsible gaming is the purview of both the gambler and the casino or institution offering the gambling activities.
In responsible gambling, the gambler needs to make sure that gambling remains a fun and entertaining activity with no purpose other than that. Casinos, on the other hand, should offer gamblers tools to help them recognise and control any problem gambling that may result from playing there. There are also other organisations that can help individuals gamble responsibly as we shall see later on.
What is the legal gambling age in the UK?
The legal gambling age in the UK is 18 years old. This means that anyone under the legal age of 18 is prohibited from gambling by law. This applies to all online and offline casinos, however, there are a few exceptions. The National Lottery, football pools, and a number of non-commercial gambling activities are open to those who are 16 years or older.
What is bad about gambling?
- Gambling can be addictive
- Addictions can have adverse effects on mental and physical health
What are the signs of gambling addiction?
There are a number of different signs that point to gambling addiction, most of which are behavioural signs. An unhealthy obsession with gambling and not being able to stop gambling despite severe consequences are considerable markers you should look out for. When not playing, a gambling addict might also feel withdrawal symptoms, which may include depression, irritability, or restlessness.
Denying there is a problem is another signs od gambling addiction as well as resorting to illegal activities, including theft, to fund any gambling habits. Gambling addiction is usually followed by financial issues as well as mood swings, which will reflect the underlying problem. Lastly, attempts to hide gambling activity might also be another sign of a problematic addiction.
How many people have a gambling problem?
A report by NatCen, prepared in 2017 for the UK Gambling Commission showed that in the UK alone, there were more than two million people who either had a gambling problem or were at risk of developing one. Out of that two million, 430,000 were considered to have a serious problem. Younger age groups were also at a higher risk of developing a gambling problem.
The study showed that as many as 63% of the British population aged 16 or over had gambled in the previous year. Of those, 66% were male and 59% female. The UK’s National Lottery drew the biggest crowd at 46%, with scratch cards and other lotteries trailing behind at 23% and 15%, respectively. The PGSI (Problem Gambling Severity Index) was used to determine at-risk gambling.
Is gambling addiction a mental illness?
Whilst gambling addiction is not a mental illness in itself, addiction is. Gambling addiction can also be a symptom of an underlying mental illness and as such should be treated with caution. Moreover, it can cause further mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and as such should be treated professionally to avoid further harm to the individual with the problem.
How bad can gambling addiction get?
If left unchecked, gambling addiction can become a very serious issue. It can also be very easy for such an addiction to start affecting other areas of your life, the effect of which will largely depend on your circumstances. Pre-existing financial problems can be made worse. Relationships can suffer, as can the well-being, mental or otherwise, of the person suffering from addiction.
How can I overcome my gambling problem?
The first step in overcoming any addiction, including gambling addiction, lies in acknowledging there is a problem and having the desire to do something about it. Denying there is a problem will only result in the failure of any further steps taken to remedy the situation. Therapy, including group therapy, can prove to be very helpful in dealing with, and treating, the addiction.
If you’re looking at overcoming a gambling problem, you will also need to avoid triggers and refrain from gambling in any way. Avoiding triggers, situations in which you feel like gambling, is important. This might require a complete lifestyle overhaul to avoid temptation. Professional advice and assistance can not only help but is recommended to ensure a better future.
How can casinos help players?
Casinos offer a number of features that can help players who may feel they are developing a gambling problem. From links to organizations dedicated to helping individuals with problems, to restriction features, online casinos tend to take gambling problems very seriously and provide users with a number of options. Ultimately, it is the user that needs to take the first step and commit to change.
Many online casinos offer various tools to help you control your gambling. Deposit limits are one such tool, which restrict the amount of money you’re able to gamble. Of course, restraint must be exercised at all times. Some online casinos also offer the ability to self-impose time restrictions, limiting how long you can spend playing a particular game or the length of a gaming session.
Health-checks, such as self-assessment tools and reminders, are also freely available, helping you diagnose the problem early on before any damage is done. The most important thing to remember is that you need to be the one to maintain control. However, these self-help tools can assist you by offering reassurance and help when you feel that you need it the most.
Which organisations deal with problem gambling?
In the UK, there are a number of organisations who have made it their mission to help people with problem gambling. The National Problem Gambling Clinic, Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare, Gamble Aware, Gordon Moody and GAMSTOP all offer help to those looking to get better. From free counselling to online chat and telephone support, there may be something that works for you.
There are also a number of international organisations to help those residing outside of the UK. Needless to say, these organisations are doing stellar work in helping those with gambling problems, which is more often than not offered free of charge to those seeking help. By referring yourself to an established organisation you can be sure someone will be there to help you along the way.
UK helplines for problem gambling
GambleAware: This UK charity is committed to reducing gambling-related issues by providing resources to learn about the risks involved. It is funded entirely by the gambling industry. It funds education, prevention and treatment services, and also conducts public outreach initiatives.
Contact: 0808 8020 133.
The Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies: This organisation provides care and treatment services for those suffering from a gambling addiction. It is also tasked with raising awareness about managing addictions among the public and how to avoid developing dependent behaviours.
Contact: +44 1985 843780
Problemgambling.co.uk: This site provides systems that can be integrated into an online casino, which allows it to track user habits and identify potential cases of irresponsible gambling. This is a data-driven solution that allows online casinos to implement responsible gambling practices from the ground up.
Responsible Gambling Council: The RGC is a well-respected, fully independent, non-profit organisation tasked with being a leader in responsible gambling practices. Its main function is to ensure that proper safeguards are in place that promote the wellbeing of individuals in the gambling industry, as well as increasing awareness about responsible gambling practices.
Contact: +44 20 7434 211
Whilst gambling can negatively affect vulnerable people, it is still a legitimate form of entertainment. If you feel there is a problem, there are many resources at your disposal, which can help you kick the habit. From UK organisations to self-help tools built into online casinos, the first step is to acknowledge there is a problem and commit to fixing it.
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