How to avoid gambling addiction and problem gambling
Gambling is fun and we want it to stay fun. I think everybody gambles in some way. Place a bet on a sports event, play a game of roulette, cards or play a game for money with friends. This is all gambling. Sometimes gambling goes from a fun thing to an obsession. When it becomes an obsession it is changing in to an unhealthy thing with serious consequences. Gambling can lead to a lot of disasters. You can lose friends, family or your relationship. It can also affect your results at work. And in most cases problem gambling causes financial problems. You can get in debts and you can end up stealing money for gambling. When you are addicted it feels like nobody can stop you. But there are a lot of things you can do to avoid and overcome a gambling addiction. On this page I am going to tell you all about how to avogambling addiction and problem gambling.
I am going to tell you how you can avoid an addiction while you are playing at South African online casinos. And how you can overcome problem gambling when you are already sucked in to online gambling. Our tips can help you get back your friends and repair your relationships. And you can get control over your financial situation again.
Important information about gambling addiction
You are addicted when you can’t control your impulse to do certain things. In the case of gambling that means you can’t control the impulse to gamble. An addiction is also known as:
- Compulsive gambling
- Gambling disorder
- Pathological gambling
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You keep on gambling even when this has negative effect on the people around you or on your financial situation. The impulse to gamble is bigger than the reality. When you can’t afford to lose, you still want to gamble. These are all indications that you have a gambling addiction. An addiction is the last phase of problem gambling. It is possible that you are a problem gambler but still in control. People who have a lot of money think they are in control because they have the financial situation to back up losses. You are a problem gambler when gambling disrupts your normal life. When you are spending more and more money and time on gambling and when you try to chase previous losses you could have a gambling problem.
Change in Behaviour
You can identify problem gambling or a gambling addiction in different ways. One of them are mood disorders and changes in behavior. Problem gamblers and addicted players often have stress, signs of ADHD, depressions, abuse issues and aggressive behavior. It is very important to identify these problems before you get addicted. When you are already addicted it is very important to identify these issues and try to overcome them with the help of people around you.
Signs and symptoms of problem gambling and addictions
When you want to know how to avoid gambling addiction and problem gambling it is important to know the signs and symptoms. Gambling addiction is one of the worst addictions around because it is called a hidden illness. It is not a typical addiction because there are no obvious symptoms and physical signs. When you are addicted to alcohol or drugs people around you notice your physical signs and symptoms. With a gambling problem it is much harder to identify the real problem. Most problem gamblers are very good a lying. They minimize the problem to people around them and to themselves.
There are a few signs and symptoms that identify problem gambling or an addiction. You or somebody around you may have a problem with gambling when:
Can’t control gambling needs
Can you walk away from gambling after you started? Do you always want to win back your losses? Can’t you leave a casino with money in your wallet or pocket? In this cases you are not able to control your gambling needs. And you could be a problem gambler or even addicted to gambling.
Keep on gambling when you don’t have funds available
It sounds strange but you can gamble with money you don’t have. Problem gamblers spent their last South African Rands and then use money they don’t have. They use money they normally need for their children, bills, mortgage or other daily life stuff. It is possible that people feel the need to borrow money or even steel money for gambling.
Gamble without telling people about it
Gambling is a thing that not everybody understands. You can get sucked up in the excitement of online gambling while others have no idea what you are doing. This makes it very easy to lie about your gambling behaviour. Only tell people you play a few times a week And only tell them the success stories. Lie about the amount of money and the gambling frequently is an important sign you are a problem gambler.
Friends and family are aware of your gambling behaviour
Denial is one of the most critical things. And it keeps problem gambling going. When family or friends identify a problem according to your gambling they will probably confront you with it. It is important to listen to them because they are the ones that can help you. It is never to late to listen to people around you and it is not a sign of weakness to accept help from friends and family.
There are organisations like BeGambleAware who exactly know how to avoid gambling addiction and problem gambling. You can contact them with a live chat function on their website. Organisations like this are available to help everybody with responsible gambling and with gambling problems. Don’t hesitate to contact them when you think you are or could be a problem gambler. It is better to avoid a gambling addiction then to overcome an addiction.
How to avoid gambling addiction at an online casino
Online Casinos are very popular in South Africa at the moment because you can gamble at any moment and at any place. You only need a computer, tablet or mobile device with an internet connection and you are able to play online casino games. For people around you it is very hard to notice that you are gambling. It is easier to identify a gambling problem when you visit a land-based casino or when you bet on sports at a bookmaker or betting shop. People around you cannot see that you are playing casino games because you can play at home or when you are at work. You can even open an online casino while you are travelling or while you are sitting outside.
Online casinos have a lot of tools that can help you avoid gambling addiction and problem gambling.
- Self-exclusion – Reliable online casinos offer you a self-exclusion tool at their website. With this tool you can exclude yourself from the casino. When you activate this tool you are not able to make deposits at the casino or you can block yourself from logging in to the casino.
- Set limits – Online casinos often offer a responsible gaming tool for Sputh African players. With this tool you can set limits at the casino. You can set time limits, deposit limits or limits on losses. This is a good start to avoid gambling addiction and problem gambling. You can set certain limits on deposit amounts. When you set a R2.000 weekly limit you are not able to deposit more then R2.000 each week. That means you can only lose R2.000 a week at the online casino.
- Responsible Gambling teams – At safe and reputable online casinos there is a responsible gaming team available. The members of this team try to identify problem gamblers in their casino. They have a few identicators that can signal a problem gambler. When they receive a few signals they contact the player before this player becomes a problem gambler.
- Verify your account – Before you start playing with real money you must verify your account. This is important because the casino knows who you are after you verified your account. When you are identified as a problem gambler the casino can take action.
- Gam Stop Online – This is a new initiative of the international gambling commissions. As a player you can sign up at this website. After you did this you are not able to sign up or play at any of the casinos connected to this organisation. The organisation shares your personal data and when you want to join a casino you are rejected.
A few facts and Myths about problem gambling and gambling addiction
Myth: When you have a gambling problem you are unintelligent and weak
Fact: Smart and highly educated South African people have the same chances of getting addicted as low educated people from South Africa. There are people with gambling problems in every level of intelligence.
Myth: You must help gamblers who have build up debts
Fact: It is smart to help gamblers with debts. But in most cases it is not smart to help them solve the financial problems. Paying their debts is a quick fix solution but not the best solution for the long term. When a problem gambler is out of debts he can start making new debts. You can better help the player with solving his gambling problem. And let him solve his finance debts him self. Support him with this
Myth: A partner or friend of a problem gamble drives this person to gamble
Fact: A problem gambler doesn’t take responsibility for his or her actions. Blaming a friend or partner is one of the ways to avoid responsibility
Myth: Addicted players and problem gamblers gamble every day
Fact: Gambling is not a problem when a player from South Africa plays every day. It becomes a problem when it starts causing problems We know players that only play ones a month. But when they play, they play big. And these players cause a lot problems for people around them. They lie, get in to financial problems and they get abusive.
Reasons why gambling could lead to addicting and alternatives for gambling
There are a lot of reasons why people start gambling. And every South African player has his own reasons. To avoid gambling addiction and problem gambling it is important to identify these reasons. And when you identified the reasons you have to find alternatives and substitutes for these reasons. When you have alternatives you can stay away from gambling and from future problems. Underneath you find the most important reasons why people start gambling. And we also added a few alternatives for you.
- Excitement and Adrenaline – Find an exciting hobby or sport. Ask friends to join you and use your free time for these hobbies and sports. Try cycling, swimming, skiing or mountain biking.
- Win money for new stuff – The house always wins! this is a well-known line in the casino industry. And it is true. The longer you play the bigger the chance the casino wins. There are other options to collect more money for nice stuff. Be better at work and try to get higher wages. Or try to safe some money and use that money for fun things in the future
- Boredom – Try to find out what you like. Find something you are passionate about and ask friends or family to do it with you.
- Unwind after a day of stress – Try to do some exercises. A 30 minute work out can relax you and it can take your stress away.
- Solve financial problems – When you play at a casino or sports betting website the odds are against you. Find friends or family and ask them to help you solve your problems. Gambling is the worst way to solve financial problems
- Friends that gamble – Avoid friends that gamble a lot. Find other friends or family you can do other things with.
Good choices can help you avoid gambling
Gambling is a choice. And there are a few elements you need to gamble. When you want to avoid gambling you must make a few choices. Making good choices can help you avoid gambling addiction and problem gambling. Let me show you a few of the elements you need when you want to gamble. Replace these elements for better choices and you make a perfect step.
You need to have money to gamble. Don’t carry a lot of cash in your wallet or pocket when you leave your house. Ask family to control your bank accounts. And don’t open bank accounts with credit cards. Don’t open a bank account with the possibility to have a negative balance.
Gambling is a decision. Before you can gamble you must make the decision to do it. When you think about gambling stop doing what you are doing and call a friend or family. Tell your friend that you want to gamble and that you need him or her to do something else. Friends and Family can help you think of other things.
You need time to gamble. When you schedule recreational things that have nothing to do with gambling you can limit the time you have for gambling. The more time you spend doing other things the less time you have for gambling. Find things to do at quiet moments.
Ask betting shops and bookmakers to restrict you from entering their shops. And exclude yourself from online casinos with the self-exclusion tool at the casinos. Block gambling content, websites and apps on your mobile phone and computer.
Ways to deal with problem gambling
It is very normal that people from South Africa like to gamble. It is fun to bet on sports events you are watching. And online casino games are very exciting. When you make healthy and good choices and when you let people know you are a problem gambler it will get easier to stay away. I am going to show you a few ways to deal with an addiction and problem gambling.
- Try to postpone your gambling activities – tell yourself you have to wait a while before you can play. Wait 10 minutes or longer and try to do this over and over again. In the end this will help you to stay away from casino games
- Avoid being alone in a place where you can gamble – Meet friends or family. Join sport clubs or visit nice events in your area. You can also join Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
- Think about the feelings you have when you lose money – With gambling you can and you will lose money. Try to visualize that you lose a lot of money. When all your money is gone you disappoint yourself, friends and family again.
- Do other activities – Visit a gym, join a sports club, visit museums or watch a movie.
There are a lot of treatments for addictions. But it all starts with yourself. You must admit that you have a problem. When you are aware of the problems you can start solving the problems.
Resources and important pages
BeGambleAware – All information you need to know about responsible gaming
Gam Stop Online – Self exclude yourself at online casinos
Gam Care – Please contact Gam Care when problem gambling is affecting you
Gamblers Anonymous – Do you gamble till your last ZARs are gone? Does gambling make your home life unhappy? Join Gamblers Anonymous to overcome your addiction.