From betting on your favourite sports team to gambling at online casinos, the online gaming industry is massive. People seem to have no problem parting with their hard-earned cash if it forms part of a bet and they have a chance to win even more money.
The problem is that gambling has been proven to be addictive, and gambling addiction statistics collected paint a rather dark picture. What can we learn from what we already know to protect ourselves going forward?
A Growing Understanding
Before we started collecting statistics, those were a gambling problem. We thought to have an impulse control disorder. But in 2013, scientists reclassified gambling addiction as an addictive disorder. It’s a behavioural addiction and acts on the brain in a very similar way to alcohol and drug addiction.
People become obsessed with the process of gambling and feel the need to do it more often. Even when they know it is wrong if they try to quit, they experience the same withdrawal symptoms as smokers and drug users, with issues like irritability and rage at those around them.
One interesting statistic demonstrates that some of the most vulnerable people are those on lower incomes. It seems like an attractive way to get out of the low-income problem. They are having because they will win big. Of course, most of us know that this is not true, but with the odd triumphant story comes the pressure to be among the winners.
More than two times the number of men compared to women have gambling addictions, but there are also females who suffer badly from the disorder, which can destroy families and leave people in severe financial danger.
According to some experts, one of the biggest problems with gambling edition is that it’s very easy to hide. Both alcohol and drug dependency have significant physical tells, and as soon as the person is out in public, it becomes very evident that they have a problem.
Most people with gambling addiction do so in the privacy of their own homes, and it doesn’t really change their behaviour at work or in the company of others. This means that the problem is often identified at a late stage, which makes it a lot more damaging as there is already considerable history that needs to be worked on.
People Not Coming Forward
When you add to that the fact that, based on NHS statistics, only 5% of people who have a gambling addiction actually come forward to seek help, the impact on others could be disastrous. It is really easy to rack up thousands of pounds worth of debt, leave important bills unpaid, and lie and steal in order to satisfy the habit.
Reputable casinos do play their part in trying to help people avoid gambling addiction by introducing online tools where players are able to limit the amount of money they can spend or the hours they can game for before they are kicked off the site.
Anyone who suspects they might have a gambling addiction is encouraged to talk to someone and get help before it gets out of hand. Ultimately, there is much that professionals still do not fully understand about gambling, just ordering how it works.
It is hoped that there is more statistics will be collected and analysed from online gaming websites involving gambling so people will be able to become more aware of what triggers the problem and how to keep players on the responsible and fun side of the game.