Gambling should be for fun and entertainment and not for trying to make money. We know that this is easier said than done but the sad fact is that some punters do get addicted to gambling. Recognizing the first signs of a gambling addiction is important and when you do, you should set some rules for yourself. In this article, we are going to discuss these rules with Portuguese iGaming expert Victoria Oliveira (you can find out more about Victoria here).
Gambling addiction—the telltale signs
It is easier to see the signs of addiction in somebody else than in yourself. There may be a little voice inside your head telling you that you are in control and one more bet won’t hurt but too often it will. So if you are not sure if you have a problem or not, look out for these telltale signs.
- Borrowing or stealing money: you should only wager what you can afford. If you need to borrow money from friends or relatives or, even worse, have to steal it you are not on the right track.
- Lying: when you catch yourself lying to your loved ones about how much money you lost or how much time you spent gambling, there is trouble. Think about it! You wouldn’t have to lie about how much tv you watched but you would lie about how much alcohol you drank—because it is an addiction!
- Neglecting family, underperforming at studies or work: those who get obsessed with gambling, often withdraw from society, start neglecting their home duties and stop spending time with their family. Similarly, neglecting studies or work is a sign that something is very wrong.
- Inability to stop gambling: if you cannot stop gambling you have an addiction. Often when addicts are forced to stop, they become upset, aggressive or depressed. Mood swings are another telltale sign of psychological trouble.
What the casinos can do
A bartender should not serve intoxicated people and similarly, land-based and online casinos should watch out for signs of problem gambling and should limit these individuals’ betting limits.
Legit and responsible online casinos such as National Casino, which accepts players from Portugal, have responsible gaming measures in place and they offer self-help tools on their sites to help players gamble responsibly.
Gambling tips for problem gamblers
When you recognize you have a problem, you should set yourself rules to get the behaviour under control. Those who don’t know how to gamble responsibly should apply these rules:
- Set yourself limits: There is nothing wrong with gambling for fun—the problem starts when you lose all your money. If you visit a land-based casino, take only a certain amount of cash with you and no credit cards. In an online casino, you can set daily, weekly and monthly betting limits to your account. Alternatively, you can sign up on Gamstop or similar organizations to officially block your access to all gambling sites.
- Don’t chase losses: You must have heard this a million times but this is the number one gambling rule. After a bad run, you may be tempted to bet once more but it will just lead to further losses. Accept the loss, stand up from the casino table or the computer and do something else.
- Set a time limit: Even if you are only making 1-cent bets, you might be spending way too much time gambling. It is not healthy! Set yourself a limit – e.g. one hour per day for games. In most online casinos you can set a time limit reminder for yourself.
- Don’t use your credit card: credit is something you don’t have. Again, you should only play with money you can afford to lose. If you build up your credit card bill, you may not be able to pay your rent or buy food next month.
- Don’t escape into gambling: problem gambling is often the response to depression. Don’t escape reality by gambling. If you have a mental problem or feel depressed you should talk to your loved ones or seek professional help instead of numbing your mind at the casino.
Gambling addiction can be a problem anywhere where gambling is made accessible, including in Portugal. It is important to recognize the signs of addiction. Once you do, you can apply the previously described steps in order to get your addiction under control.
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