By Mark Kossman, M.A.
Now one of the fastest growing industries, legal gambling already attracts more customers than baseball games or the movies. Most people see internet gambling as a recreational and leisure activity. However, for other people internet gambling can become a trap. It can gradually, or sometimes quickly, become the only thing important. All of an individual’s resources and interests become focused on the next chance to gamble on the Internet. While the vast majority of those who participate in gambling do not experience problems, a small percentage of individuals do experience some problems with gambling. Studies have indicated that approximately 5% of the population experience current problems with gambling. On average, it can take eight years to progress from a recreational gambler to a compulsive gambler.
Signs of Internet Gambling Addiction
- Preoccupation with gambling
- Increasing the size of bets and finding it difficult to quit or cut back while ahead
- Gambling when disappointed or frustrated
- Neglecting one’s family, failing at school, or losing a job or a career to gambling
- Selling important possessions to finance gambling
Gamblers Anonymous has developed a survey of 20 questions to help gamblers decide if their gambling is a problem.
- Do you lose time from work or school due to gambling?
- Does gambling make your home life unhappy?
- Does gambling effect your reputation?
- Do you ever feel remorse after gambling?
- Do you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts, or to otherwise resolve financial difficulties?
- Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
- After a win, do you have a strong urge to return and win?
- Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
- Do you ever borrow or finance your gambling?
- Do you ever sell or finance your gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use gambling money for other expenditures?
- Does gambling make you careless about the welfare of your family?
- Do you ever gamble longer than you planned?
- Do you ever gamble to escape worry or trouble?
- Do you every commit, or consider committing, an illegal act to finance your gambling?
- Does your gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments, or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
- Do you have an urge to celebrate good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
- Do you ever consider self-destruction, as a result of your gambling?
If you have answered yes to some of these questions, or if your are concerned about your gambling, then help is available. The staff at Counseling Services would be happy to help you with your internet gambling concerns. You can schedule an appointment for an individual counseling session by calling 836-5521.
For more help you may wish to visit:www.members.optushome.com.au/kmccoy/welcome.html