Gaming is a fun and exciting entertainment and combined with the casino atmosphere it provides a most thrilling experience. Gambling is an attractive option if you want to risk it and try your luck; and it is safe as long as the risk-taking is kept under control. Most of casino visitors enjoy this kind of entertainment without any problems, but there are a small number of people who lose any kind of control over their lives. In a winning phase they can believe that they are able to influence the results of the game, while being completely convinced in the losing phase that their luck will turn soon. While winning you may discover that you use all the money you won for more games, but when you lose you continue playing with the aim of regaining it all. In that case your gaming is no longer a fun entertainment but rather an obsession.
Gambling can be addictive and can be diagnosed as an impulse control disorder, but at the same time this kind of emotional disorder is treatable. Most people keep their gaming under control and they are not in danger of becoming compulsive gamblers. Various studies have shown that the number of compulsive gamblers is about 5-10 percent of frequent casino visitors.
When does a player become an addict? This is the point where the private life of a compulsive gambler suffers because of the passion for gambling. There are numerous simple tests that help identify the gambling compulsion by assessing the symptoms of compulsive behaviour. Signs indicating a disorder include the person’s inability to stop gambling, borrowing money for gambling, regarding money not as means for living, but as gaming supplies; changes in the character of the player, lying and secrecy, regretting gambling and being ashamed of it, risking one’s employment, family, significant relationships etc. for the sake of gambling.
To avoid becoming addicted to gambling players are recommended to set themselves certain limits for gaming – “no longer than an hour”, “no more than n Euros”, etc. Once a person has become a compulsive gambler it is possible to file a written application to be banned from a casino for a certain period of time. It is advisable to seek professional help as it is very hard for people to overcome this kind of compulsive behaviour on their own. Support from family and friends is also vital, because generally compulsive gamblers are unable to reach out and look for professional help.
Where to get help?
Responsible Gaming Foundation
90/91, Second Floor, Psaila Street, Birkirkara, Malta
Free Helpline: 1777
3, Braille Street, Santa Venera, SVR 1690
Free Supportline: 179
Some websites dedicated to compulsive gambling: