Responsible Gambling: What it takes to kick your gambling addiction
Responsible gambling can save you from having a very bad time. Let’s remember that like any pleasurable activity, too much of it is harmful. By falling into gambling addiction, you run the risk of irreversibly damaging your life.
But don’t worry, here we will give you some tips to keep gambling responsible. We will solve all your doubts about it and we will also talk a little bit about the regulations and statutes of gambling in the world.
What is responsible gambling?
Responsible gambling is the rational choice of gambling options. That is to say, the player takes into account that it is recreation and that he can win or lose. Moreover, he/she understands that if he/she loses, it is not imperative to recover what was spent, since no “necessary” money was wagered.
Healthy gambling implies that it is just that, only a game that will not affect the player’s life, family or professional social relationships. We agree that gambling games generate great satisfaction. The mere fact that the prize for winning is money represents an unparalleled incentive.
What is gambling addiction or pathological gambling?
Playing is fine, but when the activity degenerates into uncontrolled gambling behavior, the signs of pathological gambling begin. Let’s digress for a moment to clarify what exactly pathological gambling is:
Pathological addiction, or the unstoppable desire to continue gambling, no matter what disasters it causes in your life, is pathological gambling. Yes, there are people who have become rich by gambling, but not overnight and by mere luck.
This chance of winning, though minimal, is the main driver of all those who develop gambling addiction. It turns out that during gambling, the brain’s reward systems are strongly stimulated.
Something similar to what happens with alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. In the end, it is not the winning that generates the pleasure, but how winning makes us feel.
A person with a gambling addiction may gamble constantly and wipe out their savings, generate debt and degrade themselves in many ways. However, as with any addiction, it is possible to quit, even if it is difficult.
How does compulsive gambling start?
At the beginning, gambling addiction is always the same. You start betting on those sports in which you have knowledge or participating in those games in which you have skills. Then you bet on other sports that you are not so familiar with on a personal level.
From then on, the player cannot separate from the gaming table, or from betting on anything. For example, it is very common that in a soccer game, the gambler bets on who kick the corner will kick, the next goal, etc.
What starts out as simple entertainment and fun, eventually becomes a serious problem. The gambler can’t stop thinking about getting money to bet and pay off his debts. Of course, the only thing he manages to do is to get deeper and deeper into debt.
But why does this happen, why not just stop gambling? Well, the explanation lies in the brain of gamblers. This type of addiction causes people to have no clear distinction between winning and almost winning.
When the outcome is close to what was bet, the same region in the brain is activated that would be activated if the gambler won. In other words, the gambler feels that he won, when in fact he was close to winning. Consequently, he will want to repeat the sensation of winning over and over again.
Predisposing elements for gambling addiction
A person can become addicted to gambling with or without a history of gambling. Even the most mentally healthy person with the best life can become a gambler.
However, there are certain factors that can contribute to the development of gambling addiction. Specifically, we could divide them into psychological and social factors.
Certain characteristics such as impulsivity and the need to experience intense sensations can promote gambling addiction. In addition, low self-esteem, depression, problems to face personal problems, etc, also contribute to fall into any addiction.
With respect to social characteristics, the most influential is often having lived in an environment where irresponsible gambling has been promoted. This is particularly influential when gambling is present from a very early age.
It is common for addicted persons to have had parents or caregivers who were also addicted. Of course, there may be other factors, not directly related. Some period of time in which the person was subjected to a lot of stress, the death of someone close, some trauma…
The affected person may look for an escape route for a turbid life, and find it in gambling. And when the remedy is worse than the disease itself, everything will only get worse.
How to use a responsible gambling mindset?
It is very important to clarify that a gambling addict is not only addicted to gambling. Instead, he is a person who suffers from a disease that he cannot control. We could say that gambling is everything for someone like this, and if he stops gambling, he will experience terrible physical and mental discomfort.
This is known as withdrawal syndrome, and it can occur with all kinds of addictions, from alcohol to food to hard drugs. If the person has such a severe addiction, it is necessary to seek professional medical help. What will be said here can serve as a guide for people with gambling problems, but never as a treatment.
In either case, the first thing to do is to be aware that you have a problem. Once the person understands that he/she is addicted and that it affects his/her life negatively, he/she will want to change. That is the most important step, because it is the one that triggers volunteer work.
That said, here are some tips for maintaining responsible gambling:
Fight the urge to gamble or gamble
Yes, it reads simpler than it actually is, but it’s not impossible. Plus, there are some methods that can help you realize that you don’t really need to gamble. You just want to feel good about gambling. Let’s look at the methods:
Set a time limit
If you’re betting or gambling and a round is over, you’ll probably want to keep betting. Well, how about using a timer to force yourself to go a while without betting? At first it may be fifteen minutes, then thirty, and so on.
Make up your mind to understand that, past the time on the timer, you’ll be able to get back to playing again. The first few times you may not notice it, but over time you will find that within that time, you will lose the desire to continue playing. This will help you improve your self-control.
Define reasons not to gamble
There are always reasons to stop gambling. Especially when it is obvious that it affects your life negatively. Every time one of those reasons comes to mind, add them to a list.
Over time you will have come up with a list of really important things in your life. Spending time on those things will make your life better. But to make sense of it, you’ll need to review the list every time the urge to gamble arises.
If you need some help, you can think about your family, your friends, your job, a passion or hobby you have outside of gambling… Either way, just consider anything that you love, that you enjoy and that represents something positive in your life.
Have someone else manage your money
Entrusting someone else to manage your money can be a big help if you really don’t feel up to it. A close friend, your partner or even a family member would work.
This would force you to go through that person, every time you have the urge to gamble. It is certainly an obstacle that can represent a change. But it is important that you unlink your account from gambling establishments and venues to make sense.
Block everything that has to do with gambling.
This method is quite effective. It involves collecting all the apps and URLs of gambling sites that you frequent. Then, uninstall those apps and block the URLs, so that it is impossible for you to access them from your devices.
It is also advisable to stay away from Internet groups, profiles and forums on the subject. Remember that it is important to stay away from any stimulus that makes you want to gamble.
Get a supportive friend
Talk to your trusted people to designate someone to help you stay in responsible gambling. Whenever you feel the urge to gamble, don’t gamble, but call that person and ask for help. Tell him/her that you want to gamble, so that he/she can distract you and keep you away from temptation.
So that it is not uncomfortable or annoying for the person who helps you, you can define schedules. For example, he can help you from eight to ten o’clock at night, which is when you usually gamble the most.
It is crucial not to interfere too much in the life of your helper, as it can be annoying and you may end up getting fed up with his or her work. In fact, if you don’t want to bring your acquaintances into the problem, you can contact anonymous players on the internet. This organization, thanks to the growing technology, has coverage in every corner of the world, so it won’t be a problem.
Stay away from your gambling friends
If you have friends or family members who gamble, the best thing to do is to take a little distance. It will be a lot easier for you to stop gambling if you don’t have someone nearby who gambles constantly or brings it up.
You certainly have friends and family members who don’t gamble. Spend more time with them and you’ll find your mind will be clearer and you won’t feel like gambling as much.
Don’t go to casinos
Maybe you are one of those who usually play in casinos or gambling houses. Well, if it’s possible for you, stop going. But if you think it will be difficult for you, you can talk to the administrators about your problem so that they can restrict your access to the facilities. They won’t say no, since it’s more normal than you think.
Some casinos and gambling houses have special phone numbers to help those with gambling addictions. You simply call to request that your access be restricted. It is especially useful since you will not receive any kind of advertisements through mail and social networks either.
Regulations and statutes on responsible gambling around the world
You can easily access the International Alliance for Responsible Gaming. This is an organization in charge of fighting against illegal gambling and irresponsible gambling. From time to time, they organize awareness days where they give talks and offer help.
Earlier we mentioned Addicts Anonymous, which has branches all over the world. They are also willing to help you if you have gambling problems.
But if we talk about regulations and statutes, in the case of Europe, the law is very concise about it. It basically stipulates that people can gamble in legal establishments and ask for help if necessary. Needless to say, gambling is perfectly legal.
If we refer to the United States, there are a series of federal and state laws that regulate gambling. In the states where gambling is allowed, there is an established commission, as well as licenses for both companies and employees.
Likewise, casinos and similar forms of gambling have strong zoning regulations. Thus, establishments are kept away from residential areas and schools.
This is particularly effective because, while it does not prevent irresponsible gambling as such, it does make it more difficult to gamble. When you leave home, you won’t find the temptation right under your nose, but you would have to move around.
When establishments are located on Indian reservations, which is quite common in the United States, there are several restrictions. The Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and any other state regulations must be complied with.
If you feel that your rights as a gambler are not being enforced, you can consult with a specialized attorney.