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Compulsive Gambling is a Real Problem

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Compulsive gambling, or problem gambling as it is often called, is the state when players feel compelled to gamble, spending more time and money on the activity than they can afford to. They feel irritated when they are not gambling and often feel guilty when they are. Most online players feel that they are not candidates for problem gambling, and this is their first mistake. Any one can suffer from problem gambling and usually the realization comes too late. Therefore it is essential to be ever watchful for telltale signs.

Fortunately all reputed online casinos have a responsible gambling section in which they list out the symptoms of problem gambling and also provide self-assessment tests. It is recommended that all players go through this list or take the test at least once every three months. It is a matter of a few minutes and it can save a lifetime of problems.

The symptoms cover some broad areas. The first is the time a player devotes to online gambling. Two questions are important here. Does the player gambling for more time than he intended to when he started the session? Does the player take time off from work or college for gambling? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes” then the player is a candidate for problem gambling.

More important is the issue of the amount spent on gambling and from where the funds are coming. If the player is spending so much on gambling that he is unable to meet the required household expenses then he has taken the first step towards problem gambling. If the player borrows money for his gambling activities or sells his assets to finance the gambling then he is in hot water. If he is committing illegal acts like theft for gambling money then he is in even greater trouble.

The reasons for gambling can also be an indicator for problem gambling. If the player is gambling to overcome boredom or to avoid performing some other necessary but less pleasant tasks then he is exhibiting symptoms of problem gambling. Gambling to recoup past losses, or to repay debts or to generate finances for a new house or a luxury vacation is highly dangerous. Gambling should be purely a fun activity like taking in a movie or going out for dinner and the expenses on gambling should be of that order. Winning should be treated as a bonus and not the objective.

Problem gambling leads to estranged relationships with the family. If the player stops devoting sufficient time to his family then he is heading for a compulsive gambling problem. At a later stage of problem gambling he starts hiding his activities from the family by gambling at the workplace or at Internet cafés. At the final stage there are frequent quarrels and home life gets completely disrupted.

The player will know that problem gambling has set in when he is uncomfortable with himself. He will start feeling guilty after gambling but will not be able to stop. His efficiency at the workplace starts falling and he gets into trouble more frequently for poor performances. He starts losing sleep and in the worst case contemplates suicide.

Today a lot of money is being pumped in by national governments to study problem gambling behavior and offer curative therapies. However prevention is better than cure. Therefore anyone who engages in gambling, whether online or land-based, should keep a watch for the above symptoms and if he is exhibiting any of them he should seek professional help.
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