Problem Gambling - A Growing Problem?

At any given time, in countries across the globe, the gambling laws are one statistic, one event or one petition away from doing a 180 degree turn. In the United States, we may see gambling being legalized everywhere due to the fact that we now have a casino mogul in charge. But all around the world the industry could be going in the opposite direction.

In countries like the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, gambling has been legal for some time. But following reports of an increase in problem gambling, and of the societal issues that it causes, there are plans afoot to reevaluate. And if that happens, then the economies of these countries, as well as the lives of its people, could change forever.

But just how bad is the problem gambling issue, is there anything that can be done to fix it and are the lawmakers taking the right approach by considering amendments to laws that have existed for decades?

Legal Gambling - Problem Gambling

 

(Photo Courtesy Pixabay)

If you believe conservative views, then wherever there is legal gambling, there is a breakdown of society and a huge increase in gambling addiction. This is not entirely true, but the stats are worrying and they seem to be on the increase.

In the United Kingdom, it has been said that three-quarters of all adults gamble on a regular basis, while around 1% of the population have a gambling addiction. In Australia, gambling is even more pronounced, as is gambling addiction. It has been said that as many as 9 out of 10 adults gamble regularly, and that as many as 25% of those are problem gamblers or are at risk of developing an issue.

But it’s not as scary as it sounds. In both of these countries, drug addictions are around three times more common than gambling addiction, whereas alcohol addictions are between 5 and 10 times more common. In the United States, gambling cities like Las Vegas have a higher proportion of homelessness, drug addiction and alcohol addiction than they do gambling addiction.

 

This is a far cry from the general public perception. What’s more, gambling is something that you can indulge in on a regular basis and not develop any issues with. And the same can’t be said for drugs. After all, who ever heard of a professional drinker or a professional drug user?

How do Gambling Addictions Develop?

It has been said that gambling addictions develop in much the same way as any other addictions. The addict begins small. They develop a taste after experiencing the good times, and they want to top up those experiences when the bad times come.

But that’s not quite the whole story. If someone uses drugs or alcohol on a daily basis, they inevitably get addicted, but that doesn’t always happen to a gambler. After all, there are people who make a living out of gambling everyday, people who gamble from morning to night, but are not necessarily addicted to it.

We asked PJ Aitken, a leading tipster working for OnlineCricketBetting.Net, what he thought.

 

“I gamble every day and have done for years. At my worst, I have run the risk of developing an addiction. When I drink too much, when I’m not in the right place mentally, the addiction takes hold. I lose control. It gets out of hand. However, if I’m in the right place mentally, then there’s no issue. That’s why I’ve learned to restrict my gambling to times when I feel…well, normal.”

 

The same applies to professional gamblers. If you make a habit of watching live poker tournaments and cash games, you’ll notice that when the players seem off their game, when they are prone to frustration and anger, they make more mistakes, they do things they wouldn’t usually do. And these pros have admitted to taking things too far during times of depression, bereavement and other problems that creep up on us from time to time.

The Answer

The problem is not the industry, but the gambler. The same can be said for an alcoholic or a drug addict. They use because it makes them feel a certain way, because it takes them away from the difficulties in their life. And they become addicted because those difficulties continue and that need develops.

It’s unfair and downright wrong to criminalize gambling because problem gambling is on the rise. Doing so would put professional gamblers, tipsters and more out of business. It would cripple the economies of many towns and cities and it would take away a fun pastime from many responsible people. What we should be doing is asking why these issues are increasing. If we do, we might realize that it has nothing to do with the casinos and the sports books, and everything to do with the fact that the wrong people are accessing these services at the wrong time.

In other words, it’s all down to the individual. If we can all be a little more responsible and sensible; if we can recognize when there is an issue in or lives and then keep away from all harmful things during that time, then we’ll be better for it. 

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