Gambling is a huge amount of fun. Most people gamble safely online without any issues. However, sadly, the small minority of people who gamble do develop a gambling problem. While we are unable to act as therapists to those who have developed a gambling addiction, we can offer advice to other people to help them to avoid it happening in the first place.
Use the tools given to you
Many online gambling sites in the United Kingdom have several tools that you can use to counter problem gambling. Here are some of the things that you should be able to do, and we encourage you to use these tools even if you do not feel as if you are the type of person to develop an addiction:
- Use tools on the website which limit the times at which you can gamble.
- In all cases, there will be a way to limit the amount of money that you can deposit into your account each month. Yes, it is going to be easy for you to remove these limits if you really wanted, but most people do not. You may wish to read one of our guides to maintaining a bankroll to find out more about depositing money into your account.
- You should regularly check the amounts of money you are depositing, as well as the amount of money that you are withdrawing. This will enable you to check whether you are spending too much.
If you feel as if you have a problem, then you can self-exclude from gambling websites. This is one of the biggest benefits of the UK Gambling Commission. If you self-exclude through one website, then you will be excluded on all the other websites operating within the United Kingdom too. This is a ‘last resort’ sort of thing, but many people have found it highly beneficial.
How do you know you are developing a gambling addiction?
Sadly, many people do not realise that they have developed a gambling addiction until it is far too late. It is important that you learn how to spot the warning sites early. This way you can put the controls in place before the problem gets out of hand.
The ‘symptoms’ of gambling addiction are actually much the same as many other addictions out there. This may include:
- Avoiding activities to continue to gamble.
- Constantly increasing stakes in order to get that gambling ‘hit’
- Mood swings
- Told people that you are winning when you are gambling, even though you are losing tons of money.
- Theft to finance gambling.
- Constantly trying to win back losses. This means depositing increasingly more cash.
- Borrowing money to gamble.
- Selling owned items to gamble.
Basically, if you feel like you are gambling constantly and losing more money than you can reasonably afford to be losing, then there is a chance that you are suffering from a gambling addiction which needs to be dealt with.
What are your first steps if you know you have a gambling addiction?
The first thing that you should always do is contact the online casino to opt into the self-exclusion program. It is imperative that you do not use the other controls that the site has in place if you are suffering from a gambling addiction. They aren’t going to help you now.
You should also not be afraid to ask people for the help that you need. Talk to your friends and family about your addiction. If you trust them, then ask somebody to take control of your finances for a short while to ensure that you are not putting a lot of money on gambling.
Some people may wish to reward themselves for not gambling for long periods of time. Treat yourself to something nice at the shop. Remember; you are saving money by not gambling, which means that you can actually afford something nice.
Help is at Hand
If you have a gambling addiction, then it is going to be a long and arduous process. Just like any other addiction, there is a chance that you could relapse no matter how hard you are trying. This is fine. We promise you, if you seek help and keep at it, you will be able to overcome your addiction and get your life back on track again.
Remember; you are never going to be cured of your addiction. Never once think that you can go back and gamble at a site again if you feel ‘cured’. For further reading please visit BeGambleAware.co.uk. You will find plenty of advice on gambling (offline and online) and get access to free, confidential help by phone or online. You can learn about how gambling works, check if you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, and find tips on how to stay in control.