Firstly, problem gamblers are not the ones who frequently gamble at casinos or betting sites. They are the ones who do not bet wisely. Such people usually neglect the risks and odds involved in a betting game and end up losing huge stakes of money. They are usually addicted and adamant about winning, so they end up in debts by borrowing money from friends, family, credit cards and banks.
Loss in gambling is not an easy deal for everyone and not everyone can cope up with such losses. Such people end up in depression, feel demotivated and lose hopes in life. They are considered problem gamblers.
There are many organisations who deal with such people and help them overcome the stress levels and also guide them regarding the security and other related problems. Help for problem gamblers is easily available through the vast network of professional counsellors in this area.
Organisations Offering Help for Problem Gamblers
There are organisations that offer a helping hand. These organisations employ trained and qualified consultants who give advice and guide them to recovery. They offer counselling that is kept confidential and helps one tackle problems stage by stage. They usually help problem gamblers quit gambling. But sometimes, they just offer guidance on how to play responsibly. They educate players about casinos, how much to bet, what are consequences, how to deal with loss etc
GamCare: It is a national charity organisation that provides help for problem gamblers. It was started in 1997. Soon after, Adrian Scarfe took it one step further. He established a helpline to counsel such problems. Lord Sharman of Redlynch heads the foundation. Their helpline sometimes receives as many as 100 calls in a day. They provide both, online help and one-on-one offline counselling. Casinos can avail their certification by implementing responsible gaming code as enlisted by GamCare. They also own the big deal website launched for youth aged 12 – 18 years.
Gamblers Anonymous: It started way back in 1957. Its base is in Los Angeles but there are 100s of GA groups across the world. GA has a very well laid out 12 step process to overcome issues faced by problem gamblers. It begins with a 20 questions list for self-diagnosis. GA is effective but it works best when a family member gets involved. Family or friend involvement can happen through another systematic program called Gam-Anon.
Not everyone who gambles should be seen in a bad light as there are smart gamblers who have control on their financials and know their limits. As a responsible gambler, you need to be aware of the risks and know when and where to stop and also you need to be aware of the age limits for gambling. You need to strictly apply and follow certain measures to ensure that you are not being affected by a loss in gambling. The ground rule is that you should never play in order to make a living out of gambling because there are both, losses and profits involved. It is the loss that provokes a person to invest more, to recover from the previous loss and make a profit.
How not end up becoming a Problem Gambler
- Always know your limit. If you are a frequent gambler, make sure you set a per day limit in sync with your income.
- Never buy loans for gambling from your friends or relatives as it becomes a habit over a period of time. It can be bad for relationships.
- If you have lost too much, it is time to realise that you are not lucky enough and must try to quit before it is too late.
- Always seek advice from professionals or counselling organisations as they would tell you some do’s and don’t’s that can save you.
- Make gambling an occasion and not a profession; you cannot be lucky at all times.
Steps for Problem Gamblers to Get Back on Track:
- Address the cause: You could be gambling because you are stressed or depressed. It is important to seek professional help to overcome depression first.
- Eliminate trigger points: If you gamble every time you have a bad day at work, you are trying to soothe your emotions. Try doing something else after work. Find alternatives.
- Seek support: Tell someone about it. You will get more strength. Join a sports club or an education program to keep yourself busy.
- Take help from counsellors: GamCare or GA are groups meant to help you. Seek help.
Gambling is good only if you know how to play and how much to bet. Responsible gamblers will always draw lines after a certain limit. If you think you or someone you know is on the verge of becoming a problem gambler, there are organisations who provide help for problem gamblers. Reach out before it gets too late.