Gambling Addiction And Responsible Gaming
What has been identified as a modern-day illness is actually a condition that has existed for as long as its cause has been practiced among the human race. Nevertheless, gambling addiction was recently officially identified as a disorder reflecting the unhealthy workings of the patients’ thought process.
Since then, medical practitioners, therapists, and addicts themselves are constantly working to inform as many as possible on the causes, effects, and proper preventive measures to ultimately reduce its expansion.
Gambling Addiction & Responsible Gaming
What You Will Find In This Article
Playing Responsibly and Gambling Addiction
Addiction to gambling and gaming activities is known to be an actual disorder, a medical condition like any other form of addiction. This is practically compulsive gambling, coming from the fact that such gamblers are unable to control their inner impulse to engage in such activities. Once people suffering from this mental disease sense the urge to gamble, there is nothing to stop them from achieving their goal.
As frightening and absolute as it sounds, that is the reality of problem gambling. In order to maximize public awareness and ability to cope with such conditions in their early stages, people need to be informed about every step of the way.
Different Types of Gambling Addiction
Considering that you understand the concept of the condition that is problem gambling, i.e. gambling addiction, it is easy to note its constituent aspects – cause, signs, and effects, differing across the illness’ variants.
One way of differing between gambling addictions is to focus on the specific game they target – slots, poker, blackjack, or even lottery and bingo. While the lottery and bingo are still considered simple entertainment rather than gambling, they can be just as destructive when out of control.
Another type of gambling addiction is related to the addict’s financial demise. The appeal of fast and easy cash often appears to be the optimal solution to such issues, and despite most games’ payout potential, the risk and inconsistency factors ultimately get the better of the players.
The Gameplay High
Gambling addiction is also present in its purest form, as a source of a high, an adrenaline rush, or a feeling of empowerment. Research has shown that there are great similarities between the effects of drugs and those of gambling on the brain. Both provoke activity in most overlapping areas. Thus, many consider the state of gambling as true satisfaction, rather than the process of winning or losing, which has resulted in yet a third form of addiction – a natural high.
Gambling Addiction – Statistics and Facts
Prior to reviewing the statistical data regarding gambling addiction and its detrimental effects on people’s lives, it is good to be aware of its roots. So far, researchers and experts on the topic have been able to construct a Compulsive Gambler Personality.
The purpose of such a personality model is to help people in their surroundings determine the problem faster and respond correspondingly to reach optimal results. As illustrated above, there are multiple types of addiction, which leads to just as many different variants of the Compulsive Gambler Personality. Nevertheless, for practical purposes, medicine has been able to identify four predominant personality types with key traits, and a number of accompanying ones.
Type I Personality
These are predominantly described as disorganized and unstable on an emotional level, especially due to illustrating schizotypal personality features and constant change of attitude. Most often, this type of Problem Gambling Personality is recognized for added alcohol or substance abuse, all from a rather early stage in life.
Type II Personality
Alcohol and substance abuse is further noted in the second type of personality. Nevertheless, they don’t indicate any attitude or involvement in activities, aiming mostly to isolate themselves from social engagements in general.
Type III Personality
The focus of this type of addictive personality is the reward, the cash prize, and there is practically no means they wouldn’t resort to in order to obtain it. Thus, such people can be said to feature a strong drive to positive, victorious sensations, and wild impulses.
Type IV Personality
No psychological or pathological symptoms have been identified at these personalities. Instead, type 4 gamblers may be some of the most socially-functional individuals you know.
Gaming Disorder as a Mental Illness
After careful and in-depth analysis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially made gaming disorder an illness under its standards. This has been decided at the 72nd World Health Assembly on Saturday, May 25, 2019.
Gambling Statistics in the USA
Across the different types of personalities most susceptible to such gambling disorders, the US has been able to draw up a verifiable statistic on the issue. The country has only recently made a more liberal approach to iGaming, but the land-based industry has a long and established tradition that has taken its toll throughout the years.
Nowadays, researchers and statisticians have estimated that about 2.6% of the total population in the US is facing some kind of gambling addiction issue. In numbers, this adds up to about 10 million people –both adults and minors– resulting in a massive economic tax burden of up to $73 million calculated for 2016.
The Impact of Technology
Once online gambling was introduced as a legal practice across various states, the effects gained further intensity. Gambling became available via diverse devices. PCs and laptops took the lead portion of the industry’s traffic with over 40%. The rest almost equally spread out between smartphone and tablet online gamblers.
Geographic & Demographic Factors
To break down the matter even further, statisticians looked at gambling habits and problems across a number of additional factors.
For example, when analyzing the situation on a state-by-state level, it was discovered that compulsive gambling was most present in Nevada, particularly in the vicinity of Las Vegas.
A different factor –sex– taken as the basis of problem gambling statistics illustrated higher rates in males versus the females. Nevertheless, with the new technology and increased accessibility, this demographic is bound to undergo certain changes.
In order to properly understand the condition known as compulsive gambling, it is crucial that people are aware of the main causes, symptoms and resulting effects. With it being a growing menace to everyday social life, it is crucial that everyone is able to identify problem gambling, in themselves or someone in their closest surrounding, and help accordingly.
Most Common Causes of Problem Gambling
There is no saying what the exact cause of a gambling addiction is, much like any other addictive condition people tend to develop. Still, there are some instigators that seem to prompt a kind of an existing urge to gamble, also known as risk factors.
Compulsive Gambling Risk Factors
While someone’s age may not be directly related to their developing a gambling addiction, it is definitely true that younger and middle-aged people are far more susceptible to its influence.
As mentioned earlier for the US, it is a general tendency for men to develop gambling addictions much more often than women. However, this was largely the effect of previous social norms and habits that restricted this activity to the male sex and is most likely to balance out soon enough.
Existing Mental Disorders
People who are already suffering and being treated for a different mental disorder such as ADHD or OCD are more easily caused to develop addictive gambling habits than others.
Those addicted to alcohol or substances –or even video games– additionally have greater chances of developing a gambling addiction. Such addicts have already felt the ‘satisfaction’ of indulging in the object of their addiction and seek other ways to relive that experience.
Strong Surrounding Influences
A surrounding dominated by vices and addicts is a rather likely cause for developing the same habits in the remaining inhabitants. Up to 15% in children and 50% in spouses of gambling addicts in the US are estimated to have experienced some kind of abusive behavior and trauma. This alone is enough cause for them to seek refuge in something familiar, in this case, gambling.
Specific Personality Traits
It has been shown that people with certain personality features are more inclined to gambling and similar risky situations that depend on chance alone. These include individuals which are prone to impulsive, competitive and workaholic behaviors, among others.
How to Identify a Compulsive Gambler – Signs and Symptoms
Addicts of all kinds usually develop different strategies to keep others out of the loop. At first, both parties may be unaware of the presence of a problem, but once it surfaces, there are numerous signs and symptoms that indicate a gambling addiction, including.
Warning Signs of Problem Gambling
Being Secretive About Your Gambling
Most gamblers try not to draw attention to their bad habit, and may often end up being overly secretive about where they’re going, or what they’re doing online. You can notice them rather easily, as they tend to get restless when asked about it.
Being Unable to Control Your Gambling
Gambling addicts themselves often start to feel dominated by the urge to gamble, especially when they can’t hide it, afford it or stop it. Changes in behavior commonly accompany this symptom, especially when addicts are directly faced with the drive to gamble.
Experiencing Troubles in Everyday Life
Gamblers often experience financial, work-related and relationship issues due to their compulsive behavior. Seeing someone close to you risk money they can’t afford to lose definitely points out to a gambling problem in the making.
Worrying Your Closest Friends and Family
A problem gambler will inevitably cause concern among their closest friends and family members. The greater it gets, the deeper a gambling problem it indicates.
Problem Gambling – Effects, Myths & Misconceptions
Gambling can have a variety of destructive results on people’s overall lifestyles, depending on their daily habits, surroundings, as well as the social, financial and marital status.
Nevertheless, among the most common effects, gamblers are bound to experience financial and relationship troubles – bankruptcy or divorce. Along the same lines, loss of work and social efficiency resulting in unemployment and isolation is another common effect, as well as poor physical and mental health.
Despite such signs and effects, there are still multiple myths and misconceptions connected to problem gambling. These often prevent the healing process, and can actually make the situation worse.
Gambling Addiction Myths
They are gambling addicts, so they must be lazy and unintelligent.
Gambling is a common vice throughout its existence and can influence the lives of people of all backgrounds, status, and IQs.
Real addicts are only those who gamble every day.
Gambling addicts don’t need to gamble daily to be diagnosed with the condition. Most of them actually tend to wait for the opportune time and circumstances.
We should help gamblers clear their gambling debts.
Recognizing that they have debts is a step towards healing, but gamblers shouldn’t get instant help to clear them. This would encourage them to continue with the same pattern, ultimately only making matters worse.
How To Get Help For Gambling Addiction
People can often find themselves challenged when someone close to them suffers from gambling addiction. This condition is much harder to cure than the common cold and requires a specific approach to get started with the healing process.
Gambling Addiction Test
Identifying the problem is difficult in itself, but experts in the field have ultimately devised a 20-questions Gambling Addiction Test to simplify the process. Inserting such inquiries into everyday conversation and getting intuitive answers is a simple, yet a sure way of identifying the possible problem in its grassroots stage.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
The help of a loved one is undeniably potent, but professional treatments are bound to be the most effective. With the addiction being recognized as a real medical condition, medical institutions have been set up all over the USA, providing assistance wherever necessary.
These establishments include various addiction centers across the country’s territory, including:
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Gambling Addiction Hotlines
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Some non-profit medical help organizations the likes of Help Guide also offer online assistance, with a fully equipped website and available support.
Gambling Addiction Help – US Hotlines And Meetings
|US STATE||GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS HOTLINES|
|Alaska||There is no local listing available at the moment. Check the Gamblers Anonymous Hotlines site for more info.|
|Arkansas||There is no local listing available at the moment. Check the Gamblers Anonymous Hotlines site for more info.|
|Colorado||Colorado Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Connecticut||Connecticut Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|District of Columbia||D.C. Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Florida||Florida Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Hawaii||Hawaii Hotline Number: (808) 284-8329|
|Idaho||There is no local listing available at the moment. Check the Gamblers Anonymous Hotlines site for more info.|
|Indiana||Indianapolis Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Iowa||There is no local listing available at the moment. Check the Gamblers Anonymous Hotlines site for more info.|
|Kansas||Kansas Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Kentucky||Kentucky Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Maine||Maine Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Maryland||Maryland Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Massachusetts||Massachusetts Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Minnesota||Minnesota Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Mississippi||Mississippi Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|New Hampshire||New Hampshire Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|New Jersey||New Jersey Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|New Mexico||Albuquerque Hotline Number: (505) 260-7272|
|North Dakota||North Dakota Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Oregon||Oregon Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Puerto Rico||Puerto Rico Hotline Number: (787) 257-2204|
|Rhode Island||Rhode Island Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|South Carolina||South Carolina Hotline Number: (919) 460-9039|
|South Dakota||There is no local listing available at the moment. Check the Gamblers Anonymous Hotlines site for more info.|
|Tennessee||Memphis Hotline Number: (901) 438-3695|
|Utah||Salt Lake City Hotline Number: (801) 758-8890|
|Vermont||Vermont Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Washington||Washington Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|West Virginia||West Virginia Hotline Number: 855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)|
|Wyoming||Wyoming Hotline Number: 855-2 CALL-GA (855-222-5542)|
Find A Meeting Near You
Gamblers Anonymous has helpful meetings all across the country in the USA. There are three types of meetings to choose from, depending on what your particular needs are.
- Closed Meeting: People with a gambling problem, and/or those who think may have one, who wants to stop gambling can attend and participate in this type of meeting.
- Modified Closed Meeting: It’s the same as a “closed meeting” but members can vote to accept certain other people who may attend such as health professionals, guests of first-time members, people with other addictions who need to go to a meeting.
- Open Meeting: Relatives, family, significant others, and friends of the gambler can join and observe the meeting.
The concept known as Responsible Gaming is found in the entertainment industry, specifically at casinos and similar gambling content providers. These operators, both online and land-based, in the spirit of the concept maintaining industry fairness, need to comply with certain provisions. What is more, separate gambling organizations put together events and promote the idea even further, in order to raise awareness of the need for such standards to be upheld. These organizations include:
For the United States, the American Gaming Association tends to organize a Responsible Gaming Education Week. Here, participants are presented with a set of parameters dictating the proper approach to the matter, specifically:
Online Casinos Regulation and Compliance
While it is a broad and debatable topic, online casinos and operators need to comply with the legal regulative. In the USA, betting sites need to comply with the gambling laws for each state. This includes the legal gambling age of their player community, unbiased software and platform, and reliable payment options. As for compulsive gambling, a specific set of preventive measures – deposit and withdrawal limits, account management and suspension, etc. – are further authorized by management.
All in all, even the most stringent restrictions are for the good of the industry and everyone involved. It is only by successfully preventing and remedying problem gambling that the online gaming industry is able to operate optimally, providing an entertaining and rewarding player experience.
Gambling and online gameplay are supposed to be to fun. It is not intended to be a source of income or a way to escape reality. Only people 18 years of age or older should gamble, and this is a legal requirement at all reputable online casinos.
However, if you feel that you, or someone close to you, have a problem make sure to find help. Keep an eye out for the warning signs and take the necessary steps –as advised here– to ensure gaming doesn’t become a hindrance in your life.
OUSC is here to help you find the best online casino sites in a responsible way. If you feel you might have a problem – or could develop one – there are resources available to help you.
We recommend the following:
- Gamblers Anonymous
- National Council on Problem Gambling
- Gambling Therapy