It doesn’t matter whether it is at the track, in the casino, or at home, gambling has and always will be a popular form of entertainment. When it comes to gambling the restrictions, regulations, and limitations may change from country, but the concept still remains the same. Wagering money for profit has become easily accessible in today’s online environment. Through online casinos players can just as easily logon and gamble with their money as they can logon to play any other type of game. With this increased accessibility, the risk of gambling addiction and gambling dependency has reached near record levels. As the gambling addiction numbers have grown, so has the efforts taken by governments to help people keep such under control. In this article we will look at the effects that online gambling has on society, along with the warning signs of gambling addiction.
Pros and Cons
While those outside of the industry regularly derive the online gambling realm, the field actually has many positives that are worth mentioning. In the days of instant entertainment, online gambling works to fill a need and that is something that should be praised. Speaking on that further, the industry and its growth has resulted increased market opportunities and increased employment levels. Finally, what many don’t realise is that the online gambling industry supports some of the largest economies in the world. Given that the industry is now worth a whopping $3 trillion, it is no surprise to see that it is now considered a key economic talking point in many parts of the world.
Due to the nature of the online gambling industry, it also has some notable downsides, many of which affect the players it works to serve. Its easy accessibility has been connected to loss of control amongst gamblers, which also has strong links to addiction and more devastatingly social isolation and depression. A notable increase in debt levels due to online gambling has also been reported, along with certain individuals’ abandoning daily routines for the sole purpose of gambling. Crime to fund gambling is also another noted issue, as people can often become desperate to fund another round of betting and are willing to partake in illegal activities in order to do so.
In 2015, online gambling is no longer the free for all it once was. Regulation in how the industry works has become tighter, which has forced many online sportsbook providers to change their approach to responsible gambling. New measures are being introduced in order to make sure that all players are ensured a safe and fair environment to gamble within. For example, fair gambling policies have become standardised throughout the industry. Many online sportsbook companies have also put control back into player’s hands with regards to how they gamble through deposit limit settings. ‘Cool Down’ settings have also been introduced, which means players can manually temporarily lock their account when they start to feel that gambling is becoming a problem. Lastly, some online sportsbook websites are putting ‘problem’ players in contact with the right authorities and organizations that can help with gambling addiction issues.
Alongside the responsible gambling initiative, many online bookmakers have looked to address problems surrounding underage gambling too. Risks surround minors partaking in online gambling has been around for a long time, but now there are strict measures being put in place to ward off those under 18 or 21. Age verification software and email procedures now mean that players must provide noted ID before they can start betting. Parents who have accounts can also install measures to stop minors from gambling through their account. Many educational facilities are also now addressing the issue of underage gambling in order to educate youngsters about its dangers. Given the nature of new educational tools, the fact that gambling under-age is illegal is set to become a more prominent message than ever before.
Gambling Addiction Warning Signs
Any form of addiction is an illness and gambling addiction is no different. It is absolutely essential that you seek help should you feel that your gambling is spiraling out of control. If you or someone you know has been suffering from any of the following look to seek immediate help.
- Unable to stop gambling or struggling to resist the urge to gamble
- Borrowing or stealing money for gambling purposes
- Stopping social activities for gambling
- Gambling more money than you can afford to lose
- Chasing losses to a degree that incurs larger levels of debt
- Gambling in order to alleviate and distract from other life problems
- Lying to friends and family about your level of gambling and related debt
- Becoming ‘snappy’ and ‘aggressive’ due to increased gambling stress
- Your level of gambling is regularly addressed by those around you
Gambling addiction is a disease, so the worse thing you can do is deny it or runaway from the problem. If any of the above issues do sound familiar then seek help immediately. There are various support networks located around the world that are waiting for your call and can help you deal with your issues. Don’t suffer alone, speak to someone today if you feel that you’re suffering from gambling addiction.
Is the online gambling industry doing enough to help promote responsible gambling? Do players now get the help they need should they run into trouble? Five years ago the answer to both those questions would have more than likely been ‘no’, but today things are different. Online gambling outlets have now stepped up when called upon to put increased focus on gambling responsibly. New measures are now in place to help protect players as they gamble, including everything from enforced account limits to more rigorous ID verification controls. Online gambling is undoubtedly an industry with some strong pros and thankfully players can now negate the cons by gambling the correct way.