Problem gambling is a serious issue which unfortunately affects a small percentage of players. If you feel that you’re spending too much time, money, or mental and emotional energy on gambling, and that it’s having a negative impact on your life, there’s a chance you might have a gambling problem.
However, if you or someone you care for has a gambling problem, it’s important not to lose hope. The first step is to recognize it, the second step is to learn about the tools you can use to manage and deal with it, and the third step is the reach out for help from organizations which can support you on your journey back to health.
These three things together – knowledge, tools, and support – are like three points of a triangle. They support each other, and when used together, make a strong structure which can stand up to the headwinds of problem gambling.
Responsible gambling tools
There are a number of tools which operators use to ensure that the principles of responsible gambling are adhered to. These include:
- Age Verification – Minors gambling is absolutely unacceptable. To ensure that this doesn’t occur, responsible operators ask for identity verification before real-money wagers can be placed.
- Pattern Recognition – There are certain traits which give clues that a person may be chasing losses and gambling beyond their means. Responsible operators are always on the lookout for patterns which are tell-tale signs of problem gambling.
- Transaction Histories – One trait which many problem gamblers have is betting in a sort of out-of-control haze. They literally lose track of how much they’re really gambling. Being able to view their transaction history can help with this. The data from this transaction history is also collected and represented by your individual risk profile at operators.
- Account Limits – Setting strict financial limits can help you manage your finances better. You can set limits as to what you can deposit daily, weekly, and monthly. Many experienced players have gone tumbling down the rabbit hole and spent way too much in the heat of the moment. Account limits can help you avoid this.
- Reality Checks – These are notifications which alert you to how long you’ve been gambling for and can alert you when you reach certain loss thresholds. They go off at agreed times and limits set by you before you start playing.
- Self-Exclusion – If you feel you need to take a break from gambling, but doubt that you’ll be able to muster the self-discipline to self-enforce it, responsible operators will offer the chance to self exclude. When you do so, you can’t access the site for an agreed period of time ranging from 24 hours to forever.
There are also a number of tools which problem gamblers themselves can use to help overcome the problem. These include diaries and gaming logs, questionnaires designed to help you spot patterns, using software to block gambling sites, and attending therapy of support groups.
Organizations for Help With Problem Gambling
Have you ever heard the expression“a problem shared is a problem halved”? It’s true, while there are some things in life which you have to face alone, problem gambling isn’t one of them. While you ultimately have to do the heavy lifting and overcome your addiction, it’s always easier with professional advice and often a team of people who have been there and who have overcome it to support you.
There are some great organizations which can help you wherever you are in the world.
- Gambler’s Anonymous – The original support group for those with gambling addiction, this organization will likely have a local chapter in or near your area. Find out more information on the GA website: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/.
- Gambling Therapy – This is an online group and information resource dedicated to helping problem gamblers from around the world. They have forums, offer e-mail support, and have lots of useful self-help tools. Check it out here: https://www.gamblingtherapy.org/.
- NCPG – US players can turn to the National Council on Problem Gambling. They have a confidential helpline, can help you find a counsellor, and even have a list of treatment facilities. Check out their website here: https://www.ncpgambling.org/.