If you're reading this blog, chances are you're already a pretty avid online gambling fan. Online gaming is an ever growing industry and, thanks to this, it's more diverse, accessible and appealing than ever before. Whilst this is great news for those, who love to spin the slots or play a few hands of poker responsibly, it does also make it very important to be aware of the risks of gambling.
Gambling is an addictive hobby. There's no way we can mince our words around this and we wouldn't want to either. Whilst we love online gaming and agree that it's both enjoyable and lucrative, it'd be a waste of time, not to mention irresponsible of us, to not acknowledge that it is also dangerous.
What’s even more important to acknowledge, is the effects online gambling is having on young people. In the UK alone, around 25,000 children are currently classed as problem gamblers. This is why lessons about the risks of gambling are being piloted in UK classrooms.
That being said, even as adults we can often become ignorant to the truths of our favourite hobby. Luckily for you, in this guide we’ll be discussing all of the very real risks of gambling, as well as giving you advice on how to manage these risks and how to recognise problem gambling.
What Is The Risk Of Gambling?
Gambling by its very definition is a risk. It’s part of what makes it so exciting and fun. You place a wager without knowing the outcome, with the hopes of winning more money than you started with. Naturally, then, the biggest risk of gambling is losing money. This is a risk that many gamblers are aware of and is to be expected.
This means that the only way to gamble responsibly is to accept, beforehand, that you will be spending money. Your chances of losing are always greater than winning, at any casino, on any game. They have to be, as a casino is just another business looking to make a profit at the end of the day.
Apart from financial risks, gambling can also impact your social life and your work life too. Even the most level-headed and responsible gamblers run the risk of developing a problem gambling habit. As we mentioned earlier, gambling can be addictive and this is when things can really turn sour.
The good news is that if you continue to manage your money and your expectations at the casino, you should be able to steer well clear of experiencing gambling troubles and addiction. Continue reading to find out how to reduce your risks of developing a gambling problem.
The Unique Risks Of Online Gambling
As we mentioned in the introduction to this guide, the growth of the online casino industry means that online gambling is more accessible and convenient than ever before. Whilst this is overall great news for gambling fans, online gambling does pose some unique risks.
Online gamblers have very easy access to online casinos – duh. All you need to do is power up a computer, or smartphone, register at an online casino and fund your account to start playing. You can do this anytime, anywhere you want.
Due to this ease of access, online gambling can be even more addictive than traditional gambling. If you are trying to cut down or quit gambling and you play at a bricks and mortar casino, you could simply avoid the casino and locations nearby. Contrastingly, avoiding your mobile or computer is no mean feat in this day and age. We use the internet for work, for socializing and for shopping, so there’s always a reason to be online, and therefore in close proximity to an online casino.
Moreover, online casinos are discreet. Unlike if you were visiting a land based casino, it’s very difficult for others to notice how often online gamblers are visiting online casinos and how much they’re spending. This allows people to become more susceptible to problem gambling as no one can really look out for them.
Risk Factors of Problem Gambling
There are several factors which can increase the risk of developing a gambling problem. If you identify with any of these factors, you should carefully consider whether gambling is a good hobby for you and, if you do decide to gamble, monitor your behaviour carefully. Risk factors include:
- Winning a lot of money early on in a gambling career
- Starting to gamble at a young age
- Being in a tight or bad financial situation
- Having impulsive tendencies
- Having a mental illness or a substance abuse problem
- Having family members or close friends who have (or has had) mental illnesses, substance abuse problems or gambling problems
- Gambling as a way of escaping your problem (i.e to deal with stress or emotional difficulties)
- Feeling bored, depressed, anxious, or lost in life
- Believing you have a special gambling skill or very good luck
- Feeling like you must always win back any money you’ve lost
- Having recently suffered a significant change in circumstances or a life upheaval (i.e divorce or loss of a loved one)
Risk Management Gambling
Whether or not you identify with any of the factors mentioned above, gambling smart and responsibly is always important. This may mean creating a gambling budget, a time frame or limiting your exposure to online casinos in some other way.
Here are some ways in which you can reduce your chances of ever developing a gambling problem:
- Always be aware that if you are gambling, you’re probably going to lose some money. Keep in mind that gambling is entertainment and not a sensible way of making money.
- Never gamble when you’re intoxicated.
- Always keep aware of your emotions and step away from the casino if tensions are running high.
- Never gamble as a way of escaping negative emotions.
- Always keep track of your casino deposits, wins and losses, so that you know how much your spending at all times.
- Never gamble more than you can afford to lose.
- Take the concerns of others seriously. If friends or family are worried about your gambling hobby, then listen to what they have to say. It can be hard to recognise your own problems, whereas others may see them more clearly.