How to Recognize Gambling Addiction
According to the literature, which is based on work with pathological gamblers, ten observable patterns of behaviour can be defined, which all or almost all of them can manifest in addicted gamblers:
- Habitual thinking about the game and betting, planning further play and thinking about where to get the gambling money.
- Gradually increasing bets amount to achieve the same level of excitement from the game.
- Frequent and unsuccessful attempts to stop playing or at least reduce it.
- Experiencing irritability and inability to concentrate during attempts to stop.
- Using gambling as an escape from reality.
- Returning the next day to play to win the money wagered.
- Lying to people around you in an attempt to cover up gambling.
- Illegal behaviour to obtain money for gambling.
- Loss or significant weakening of family relationships or partnerships.
- Borrowing money from family or friends.
If you experience any of the symptoms described above, it is possible that you have developed or will soon develop a gambling addiction. In such a case, it is better to start resolving the situation as soon as possible.
Gambling, in any form, whether you play slots or any other gambling game, is an addiction like any other and needs to be approached with maximum responsibility. In general, addiction treatment consists of several phases.
Phase 1 – Awareness of the problem.
Can’t stop playing slots and spend a significant amount of money on them almost every day? First of all, it is best to realize that you have a problem that needs to be actively addressed. If you do not see your acting as a problem, the treatment itself will never make sense.
Phase 2 – Seeking professional help and treatment
According to research, it is practically impossible for most people to deal with addiction on their own. It is, therefore, often necessary to seek professional help. So what are the possibilities:
This is the most common form of gambling treatment. The player is assigned to a treatment group or commutes for a personal meeting with a therapist. Addiction treatment centres and some counselling centres for interpersonal relationships or psychologists offer outpatient treatment. In this case, the patient attends regular meetings. This treatment is most suitable for players who have a good family and social background and are very motivated to cooperate.
Suppose outpatient treatment does not show the desired results. The player is placed in a facility. Patients who, due to their environment, are unable to stop playing most often use inpatient treatment. This is a very intensive type of therapy, especially with group therapies. Inpatient treatment does not end with discharge from the facility but continues in the form of outpatient treatment.
This is not professional treatment, but rather a useful supplement. Players go to meetings with people with similar experiences and addictions, such as anonymous gamblers. This term also includes publicly available information on the Internet or in manuals.
Phase 3 – Return to society
As soon as the addict successfully completes some form of treatment and no longer plays, he/she begins to participate in society again. He/she builds relationships with family and loved ones. If he/she loses his job because of playing or treatment, he/she is looking for a job. Ideally, the former gambler will never play slots again. The whole process of treatment and involvement back in society can take several years.
How to Set Self-Limiting Measures in an Online Casino
Most online casinos offer newly registered users the option of so-called self-regulation. It is a set of self-limiting criteria that should, at least partially, ensure the safety of players. Each player can set these rules upon registration but can return and reset them at any time during betting. Of course, it is easy to reduce, and on the contrary, it is more difficult to repeal these measures.
If you want to eliminate gambling and stop playing slots in the online world and you are a citizen of Great Britain or Sweden, you can register at GamStop (Great Britain) or Spelpaus (Sweden). These bring together several casinos, so if you register with GamStop or Spelpaus, you will be eliminated at once in all casinos that have a license there.
The Netherlands is already working on its project called CRUKS. Even the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) in Malta is working on a Europe-wide system of self-exclusion from online gambling.
Responsible Gambling Features
Let’s not just speak in general terms, let’s look at specific cases of how players can control their game:
- Deposit limit
- Limit loss
- Spin limit
- Account login limit
- The length of the game
- Time warning
- Access to game history
- Pause/block account
- 1 Deposit limit
Choose the maximum deposit amount per day, week or month. Once you meet the limit in your period, you will not be able to deposit any funds into your casino account until the end of the period.
- 2 Limit loss
Here you choose the maximum amount you can lose daily, weekly or monthly. You can lower this limit at any time. However, the request for its re-increase will not take effect until seven days later (or any period of time).
- 3 Spin limit
As with the loss limit, you set an amount here that you can spin daily, weekly or monthly. The rules for limit changes also apply. You can reduce it with immediate effect at any time; its increase takes 7 days (or any period of time).
ad.4 Account Login Limit
Here you set how many times a day / week / month you can log in to your player account.
- 5 Game length
The game length feature allows you to control the time you spend logging in to your casino account. Again, the reduction of this period is valid immediately and, conversely, the increase lasts 7 days (or any period of time).
- 6 Time warning
The time notification function is the tip of our portal, which we recommend setting as minimum criteria for responsible gaming. When activating this function, you will be notified every hour that you have been playing for an hour. In addition, the casino will send you information about a change in your player account balance. This feature can only be used when playing on a desktop or laptop computer.
- 7 Access to game history
Access to your history is another handy feature to help you with proper money management. With access, you will immediately get an overview of all your deposits and withdrawals. The current status of your game account is always displayed at the top of the website.
- 8 Pause / block account
In addition to all the eventualities described above, you also have the option of temporarily or entirely closing your account.
Why People Can’t Stop Playing Slots
The causes of problem gambling can be found on two levels. First of all, there are initial impulses in the gambling itself. The very act of betting money with the vision of winning and therefore winning as such, creates in the human brain an excessive amount of neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline and endogenous opioids.
These hormones make a person feel happy and excited. However, once they are washed away, the body simply begins to miss them. This is the scientific explanation for addiction. However, this does not mean that everyone who starts gambling is guaranteed to become a pathological gambler.
This neurological phenomenon is also often accompanied by social and emotional problems, which make playing a real problem. These social and emotional problems in life are also often the trigger for deviant behaviour. This trigger can be a job loss, a partner’s pregnancy, or family distress.
Differences are also visible for each gender. While men’s gambling manifests as early as adolescence, women begin to play later in life. According to research, the most endangered group of single men are around 30 years old from large cities.
The most common cognitive biases associated with gambling
People are also often encouraged to play by the imperfection of the human brain. Specifically, it is the observation of phenomena (such results of spins at slots) and the incorrect process of understanding it. Interestingly, these illusions of the brain take place on an unconscious level, so one must know and rationally understand them to be able to avoid them.
Probably the best-known bias is the so-called gambler’s fallacy. It causes that the player assumes that there is a causal connection between the individual phenomena, even though there is none. Results of roulette are the best example. When black hits four times in a row, it may seem logical to assume that there is a higher chance of red falling on the fifth spin.
In fact, of course, the chances are still the same. The results of the individual game rounds are independent of each other, and therefore the previous results do not matter. Even if black falls 100 times in a row even after the 101st, the probability that red will fall is exactly 48.65% for European roulette and 47.37% for American roulette.
The delusion of a near loss / win is most often associated with playing slots, but can of course also be applied to other games of chance. It starts when the symbols in the game just almost create a winning line. Interestingly, the brain counts this as a win. Therefore, the players feel positive about the game.
Illusion of Control
Some players irrationally believe that they have more control over the random results of the game. Players think that the wins are associated with the fact that they have been playing the game for a long time and thus gained skill in it. Examples are players who press buttons on slots within certain time limits or players who roll dice harder to get a higher number. Both are, of course, nonsense.
Another delusion that attracts people to gamble is selective memory. This phenomenon has been known for quite some time and describes the fact that people better remember situations which they rate as positive. Gamblers thus remember winnings more than losses, which gives them the impression that they have won in the past, although this may not really be the case.