Gambling Addiction
Oliver Moore | December 14, 2021 | Updated on: January 3rd, 2023

Gambling Addiction: A Detailed Guide and Ways to Aid Complete Reversal

Whether you take a trip to the gambling capital of the world – Las Vegas – or you decide to place wagers from the confines of your home via iGaming destinations, gambling, at all times, should be an enjoyable and memorable experience. For most Aussies, these mediums are vital to release the “steam” build-up attached to the day’s hustle.

However, there’s a flip side to every activity, gambling inclusive. Although others might commence this activity ordinarily on games like Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, or Pokies, there’s a possibility that these individuals could become obsessed minutes or hours into gameplay. While they might think it’s normal, it isn’t as it could mean the “Genesis” of gambling addiction. Due to the irresistible urge accompanying this act, these players don’t notice the negative repercussions until it’s too late.

Regardless, there’s good news as this guide aims to give newbies and seasoned gamblers pointers into the inner workings of gambling addiction so they can control the situation at its elementary stages. Additionally, we’ll focus on the attached symptoms, types, and treatment modes. With so much ground to cover, let’s get GOING.

What Is Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction, in simple terms, is defined as the urge a person has to place wagers on their preferred gambling categories without giving much thought to the adverse effects it could have on them, their friends, or loved ones.

When left unchecked, losing money in astronomic amounts reigns supreme. Additionally, the person’s support system (friends or family), ashamed of their behavioural pattern, might leave them to cater for themselves independently. Depending on the addiction’s severity and timeframe, an individual will likely suffer financial, mental, and emotional challenges.

That said, why does gambling become addictive? Well, gambling-related activities, sometimes, result in huge wins. When an individual is aware of this, their brain reward system becomes active, and as a result, they keep placing wagers irrespective of their losing margins.

For an insight into how deeply rooted this issue is, let’s take a closer look at some significant gambling addiction facts:

  • According to Finder, 0.5 – 1% of gamblers in Australia have a significant gambling problem.
  • The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation reported that residents have to part with over $7 billion yearly to deal with costs attached to gambling harm.

Gambling Addiction Symptoms

While it’s easy to conceptualise this condition, most people don’t put gambling addiction psychology into perspective. This aspect is vital as it provides context on what prompts the addiction in the first place.

With this in view, let’s take a look at some of the major gambling addiction symptoms:

  • You’re obsessed with the thoughts of placing wagers at a physical or land-based venue.
  • Seeking to increase funds through gambling for temporary excitement.
  • Not being able to control, limit, or stop wagering on varying gambling categories.
  • The feeling of restlessness cropping up when you don’t have access to gambling mediums.
  • Using gambling as a point of contact to escape worrying life challenges like depression, severe anxiety, guilt, and helplessness.
  • Trying to recoup lost funds through gambling.
  • Constantly lying about how much you’re wagering at iGaming or physical destinations.
  • A feeling of annoyance comes up when someone reminds you about the ills of excessive gambling.
  • Constantly asking friends, family, and loved ones for financial aid to help foster your gambling aspirations.
  • Turning towards illicit means of funding your casino bankroll when there’s no source of legal financing.

If you’re experiencing one or more symptoms, it might be time to consider gambling addiction therapy. By so doing, the uncontrollable urge that exists with this condition is non-existent.

Gambling Addiction Types

Gambling addiction, just like other impulsive disorders, results in the person being unable to control their actions, regardless of the consequences (direct or indirect) it has on others. According to psychologists, there are three primary forms of gambling addictions.

Binge Gambling

You’ve probably heard of individuals who binge movies, food, or drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). In the same vein, there are binge gamblers. These persons place numerous wagers using huge amounts of money within a relatively short period.

Although binge gamblers might be able to check themselves sometimes, that sudden urge to place bets can see them wager excessively in no time. Here, they either lose or win heavily.

Problem Gambling

Problem gambling is a continual addiction form, meaning that individuals who find themselves under this category tend to play for long periods without respite. Often, problem gamblers are unaware that they have issues that can threaten their ties (relationships) to friends and family. However, they might decide to knowingly detach themselves from their loved ones if they’re aware.

Besides the emotional aspect, problem gamblers have a penchant for chasing their losses. Shouldering high risks, problem gamblers might find it difficult to stop until they incur debt.

Compulsive Gambling

Compulsive gambling is tagged as the most dangerous of addictions as individuals in this segment don’t know where to draw the line. These gamblers place wagers regardless of their financial, emotional, physical, and mental conditions. To them, as long as there’s a source of funding (legal or illegal) and a gambling destination to boot, setting wagers in the hopes of winning something astronomical will remain a constant.

If prompted to take a gambling addiction test, compulsive gamblers usually decline as they think what they’re doing is within normal limits. They often resort to violence, giving room for uncomfortable conversations with individuals closest to them.

Note: If you or a close associate is suffering from any of these gambling addiction forms, seeking help first should be paramount.

What Is Responsible Gaming?

Responsible gaming is a deliberate action vital for expunging a gambling addiction. When a gambler places wagers responsibly and reasonably, they’ll be able to control their wagering bankroll and gamble within its confines.

That said, the money attached to your account is an amount you can easily part away with for that extra bit of excitement. With responsible gaming at the thick of things, you’re aware that the “house always wins” on whatever casino game you play. Therefore, regardless of your winning or losing margins, you go along with the “flow” until your set funds diminish.

How to Gamble Responsibly?

While the theory of responsible gaming makes perfect sense, several tips ensure that this line of thought remains evergreen during gameplay. Therefore, before you get your online casino adventure going, it’s essential to make these “non-negotiable” considerations:

  • Choose an Established Platform. With so many sites available for Aussies, you must choose one with a proven track record that spans. Since the iGaming scene in Australia is home to several illegal sites, it’ll be best to read player reviews to see what site is worth the wager. Besides the generous promotional offers on display on some of these sites, players have access to “Responsible Gaming” information that keeps them in check at all times.
  • Place Limits. Gambling will always remain an immersive activity as players have the luxury to link up with other iGamers during gameplay. Sometimes, things get so exciting, and you might wager more than you intended. To nip this issue in the bud, setting a time or wagering limit is vital. Additionally, reliable and reputable online casinos offer daily, weekly, and monthly limits on deposits. When you set a value that augurs nicely with “Responsible Gaming” standards, the casino restricts you from making more transactions once you’ve reached the set threshold.
  • Check Your Gaming History Regularly. Fortunately, most sites available to Aussie gamblers integrate a tracking system on their platforms. With this nifty add-on in place, players can check to see what they’ve spent on wagers and how much they’ve recouped or lost.

    Since this feature also gives players an insight into games they’ve played recently, you can quickly sift out those that aren’t compliant with your gambling endeavours. To have a clearer picture, we recommend performing a check every week.

  • Take a BREAK. Taking a break ranks as the ultimate “Responsible Gaming” tip. No matter how immersive and rewarding gambling can get, it’s essential to take a step back for an extended period.

    While some players are sceptical about this process, the “self-exclusion” feature available at most Australian-themed iGaming destinations makes it feasible. By submitting a request to customer support, access to your account becomes restricted after some time (a 24-hour timeline applies to most casinos).

Gambling Addiction Treatment

While there’s no specific gambling addiction treatment mode in place, most medical practitioners believe that the first step to getting the proper treatment is acknowledgment from the individual admitting they have a gambling problem.

Once they’re aware, the next step is to engage in gambling addiction therapy sessions with professional psychologists or therapists. In some cases, the attending physician can prescribe some drugs to reduce the triggers associated with excessive gambling.

That said, addicted players could visit support forums to access a safe space to share their problems and issues. When they meet individuals who have gambling addictions, they’ll be motivated to do more to get themselves back to the “normal” terrain.

What Kind of Help Is Available?

To reverse a gambling addiction psychology, affected players, even after treatment, will need help to ensure that they don’t relapse. Here are some solutions:

  • Read all about iGaming destinations to know all there is to “Responsible Gambling.”
  • Place wagers at online casinos that feature add-ons that can help you limit your deposits and bet values.
  • Exclude yourself from wagering-related activities through self-exclusion for several months. If followed to the latter, this action will see your urge for iGaming wane.
  • Use website-blocking apps to restrict access to online casinos. Since relapse is possible, these apps take centre stage in limiting access to gambling sites.
  • Don’t keep your struggles a secret. Have a conversation with trusted friends and family members for some relief.

Places to Get Help

If you’re looking towards gambling addiction recovery or you’d like to seek help for a loved one, you can get the needed assistance through these Australian entities:

Entity Covered Regions Site Email
Office of Responsible Gambling NSW New South Wales
Gambler’s Help Victoria
Problem Gambling SA South Australia
Gambling Help
Queensland N/A
Centrecare Western Australia Western Australia
Amity Community
Department of Health Tasmania Tasmania

Note: To contact the national gambling helpline, players are to call – 1800 858 858. This number, in turn, refers players to the nearest help centre.

  • Who Is at Risk For Gambling Addiction?

    As long as you're placing wagers at an online or physical destination, the chances of you having an addiction rank high. However, implementing the "Responsible Gaming" as seen above can reduce this possibility.
  • What Is the Most Severe Gambling Addiction Form?

    All gambling addiction variations have repercussions. That said, the most severe is the "compulsive" form. Players who fall under this category place wagers irrespective of the adverse effects. Occasionally, they can resort to violence when a friend or loved one suggests therapy.
  • What Has the Australian Government Done to Limit Gambling Addiction?

    The most significant step taken by the Australian government towards curbing the prevalence of gambling addiction is revising the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) of 2001. This revision has led to the outright ban of offshore iGaming sites, especially those without the needed "failsafes."
  • What Is the Most Effective Gambling Addiction Treatment Mode?

    The most effective treatment mode depends on the addiction's severity. However, due to the psychological nature of this condition, we recommend engaging the services of a therapist.
  • Is There a Set Amount of Funds You Must Lose to Enter the Confines of an Addiction?

    No, you don't have to lose a specific cash amount to confirm that you're addicted to gambling. However, if you notice any adverse changes in your life that stems from gambling, you might be nearing a gambling addiction.