The adverse effects of gambling can be devastating, especially if you’re not responsible for your money. Although online casinos are undeniably fun, they can be a slippery slope for some. Apart from addiction, negative effects such as irritability, poor money management, and stress are also very common.
Unfortunately, if you don’t practice responsible gambling, problematic behavior can become a real issue. Hence, we’ve put together this guide to help you practice self-restraint and learn to gamble for fun, not profit. But if you think you may already have a problem, stick to the end to get some tips on overcoming addiction. We’ll also point you to useful resources for more help.
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Responsible Gambling vs. Problematic Behaviors
Gambling becomes problematic when it interferes with your usual patterns. For instance, one of the top telltale signs you have an issue with is poor money management. Exceeding your budget, not having one at all, using credit cards to fund your habit – all certainly problematic behaviors. Moreover, treating gambling as a source of income rather than just a fun hobby is also a symptom of addiction.
On the other hand, responsible gambling is all about setting boundaries – like having a gaming budget. But staying safe through responsible gambling and avoiding addiction is not just your responsibility. In fact, all real money online casinos, software providers, and the industry as a whole have an important role, too.
Common Gambling Myths
A significant number of gambling addicts believe in myths about gambling to justify their risky behavior. If you believe in any of the following, you may want to reconsider whether or not you have a problem:
- The machine hasn’t paid out for a while, so a win is on the way.
- If I play a little bit longer when I lose, I’ll win back my losses.
- Gambling is a skill-based activity.
- There are winning strategies and betting systems that can beat the house edge.
- I have rich experience in gambling/I know what I’m doing, therefore I’ll win.
- Winners have a lucky ritual that they religiously follow.
- When you use the club’s loyalty card, your chances of winning are low.
Gambling Addiction Warning Signs
It’s entirely possible you’re addicted to gambling but don’t know it yet. Here are some of the warning signs that should make the red flags visible:
- Spending more money and time on gambling – If you go out of your way to find more funds or time to continue playing then you might be an addict.
- Chasing your losses – Trying to make up for your losses always leads to gambling away more than originally planned.
- Mood swings – Addicted gamblers behave more erratically than usual and are restless, irritable, angry/aggressive, or more passionate about gambling than before.
- Depression and anxiety – Gambling affects mental health and addicts experience highs and lows, as well as anxiety when trying to cope.
- Money problems – Demanding money from friends/family, selling possessions, or taking out loans to gamble may be a sign of addiction.
- Increasing bet sizes – Addicts struggle to feel satisfied and constantly feel the urge to gamble more in chase of excitement.
Denial Can Magnify Addiction
Very often gamblers that engage in problematic behaviors won’t admit they have an issue. In other words, they’re in denial. Avoiding the problem by refusing to acknowledge it is a coping mechanism. The stress, anxiety, or emotional conflict can be overwhelming hence why many choose to not face them.
However, this path makes people all the more vulnerable to complete loss of control. If you are downplaying the consequences of your risky behavior in your head, you may be in denial. But overcoming addiction requires admitting the problem and looking for help can be the first step.
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Responsible Gambling: How To Manage Your Addiction
Managing gambling addiction means stopping gambling completely or at least reducing the frequency. This can be difficult as it requires serious behavior change but here’s what you can do:
- Avoid triggers – Finding a healthy alternative to gambling will shift your focus away. For instance, you can spend time with non-gamblers if being around casino fans makes you want to gamble.
- Seek professional help – If you are severely addicted, seek help from a specialist – they’ll help you stay away from gambling.
- Delay the decision to gamble – Postponing an urge to gamble reduces the intensity of the urge, leaving you more in control.
- Distract yourself – When the urge to gamble strikes, do something else immediately. Also, limit your access to money.
- Join a support group – It’s not a professional setting but it helps to talk about your problems and try finding solutions with others.
Our Tips for Responsible Gambling
Whether you have a problem or not, if you love gaming at online casinos in the Philippines, practicing responsible gambling should be a priority. For instance, you should treat gambling as a form of entertainment and not expect quick money from it. In fact, losses are the cost of your entertainment, so avoid chasing them in an attempt to win more money.
A great way to stay on top of things is to budget both your money and time. Limit what you spend per session, too, and certainly don’t use your credit cards for gambling. Also, you should always expect to lose rather than win – this way you won’t be disappointed. Remember to only gamble when in a good headspace and to not increase your bets to compensate for losses.
Gambling doesn’t treat stress, loneliness, or depression. So don’t gamble to solve any of these problems – instead, seek help in the right places. Finally, learn more about problematic gambling behaviors. When you understand the problem, you can quickly solve it.
There are many places where you can get support or information about gambling addiction, such as:
Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
Gamblers Anonymous offers gambling addicts a chance to share experiences, hope, and acquire strength to solve their problems. The only requirement to join is to want to stop gambling. You can also help others once you’re on the right track.
GambleAware is a charity that aims to keep people safe from gambling by raising awareness. Providing information helps people to make informed choices. So this charity makes it their business to explain the risks and show you what you should do next.
GamCare is an organization that offers information, advice, and support for individuals affected by gambling addiction. Besides, they offer help with solutions like money management, software blocking, and self-exclusion.
If you need emotional support and practical advice on gambling issues, Gambling Therapy can help a lot. Experienced counselors, peer support workers, and psychologists can offer you curated solutions.
Choosing to gamble responsibly can minimize the chances of becoming an addict. Although it is a collective responsibility for all stakeholders, it’s the gamblers who suffer the most. If you must gamble, do it just for fun and keep our tips in mind.
Another way to add an extra layer of protection is to choose a platform that takes your safety seriously. You can learn more about casinos with responsible gambling programs on our review page. But if you know you have a problem, seek help from the proper channels instead.
Responsible gambling programs are tools that aim to create a safe gambling environment and prevent gambling-related problematic behaviors.
Online gambling sites normally provide an option to self-exclude yourself from its activities. In addition, the best platforms will also include links to useful resources to help you get help faster.
Most importantly, you should seek help. Also, you should take advantage of gambling blocking software which is designed to block gambling websites and apps altogether.
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