Gambling in the form of horserace betting, sports betting, online or land-based casino games, lotteries, or other betting activities may create an addiction and problems for the bettor. The addiction to these betting activities is also commonly called ludomania or compulsive gambling, which is a kind of impulse-control disorder. People who have a compulsive gambling problem commonly find it hard to control the urge to gamble. Even though these people are aware that their gambling problem can have a negative impact on their financial, social and emotional state, they simply do not have the will power to stop the addiction.
Problem gambling can be triggered by various things. People may initially do gamble just for fun. However, as the excitement develops, uncontrolled impulses may lead to an addiction. This condition can be worsened by other factors. This activity can be the person’s scapegoat from hardships of life. As one develops an attachment to betting activities, there are several noticeable symptoms that occur. Individuals with problem gambling commonly show at least five of these common symptoms:
- Preoccupied to gambling – Even though the person does not gamble at every moment, he or she may frequently think about the activity.
- Chasing – Gambling is done to make up for the loss suffered from the previous gambling.
- Withdrawal – There is an urge to do more of the activity.
- Dishonesty – Similar to drug addicts, gambling addicts often hide their addiction from families, friends, and other people around them.
- Tolerance – Larger or more frequent wagers are often needed to retain the excitement.
- Criminal acts – To get more capital for gambling, problem gamblers who are short of money tend to engage in illegal acts such as robbery, theft, or fraud.
- Problem with social life – Frequent gambling may adversely affect the individual’s significant social bonds such as job, relationships, etc.
To prevent the addiction, all that is needed is smart betting. Simple tricks to prevent from engaging in compulsive gambling are:
1. Never gamble while having a troubled mind. Anxiety, anger and sadness tend to let people do exciting activities in order to forget their other problems. The condition is called escape and one of the most common triggers of the addiction.
2. Limit the duration of your gambling activities. Whether you go online or to a land-based casino, set a time limit for yourself. Be strict to yourself and leave or log off from the connection when your time is up.
3. Avoid excessive drinking. Alcohol will cause impaired judgment about things around you. Limit your alcohol intake during the betting activity.
4. Limit your wagers. When you are in a land-based casino, bring only the amount of money you can afford to lose. When the money runs out, don’t satisfy your urge to make a cash withdrawal from the nearest ATM. Cash advances using a credit card or borrowing money does not help either. It is better to walk away from the casino when your cash runs out to avoid spending more money.
Gambling may be a satisfying activity as long as it is done in responsible manner. With smart and wise betting, you will be able to prevent the dangers of problem gambling.