So you don’t go to casinos to gamble. You don’t play cards among other people or bet on horse races. However, you stay engrossed on your mobile phones or computers for hours, betting small amounts of money on online poker and slot machine games. And you think there’s nothing wrong with that.
Let’s take a closer look.
The term “addiction” is from a Latin term which means “enslaved by.” Therefore, when you are constantly and persistently preoccupied by an activity or a substance, despite negative effects on yourself and/or the people around you, then that is more likely an addiction.
What is Online Gambling?
Online gambling is diagnosed under the same criteria as in-person gambling, or that type of gambling where you’re actually in a casino or gaming house.
Online gambling is in fact more addictive and a person can give in more easily because of its 24/7 availability and accessibility. It is even more easily addictive and even harder to recover from than casino or in-person gambling. This is because online gambling can be done anywhere and all the person has to have is a device and an internet connection.
Why Online Gambling is Highly Addictive
- Online gambling is available anywhere and anytime as long as there is an internet connection, which is ubiquitous these days
- Online gamblers can play even when they are in the presence of their families, or at work or in school
- Online gambling is more convenient than actually going to a brick-and-mortar establishment
- There’s no travel time, so online gambling is quick and people can spend more time gambling
- With online gambling, you can play anonymously
- You can play even when you are in the comfort of your own home
- It’s hard to keep track of the amount of money you lose because your bets are linked to your credit card
- Accessing money is easier to do online compared to when you’re in a casino and have to go to the bank or ATM machine to withdraw money
- It’s hard to know if online gambling sites are actually legitimate
- Underage gamblers can have access to online casinos
- Avoiding playing or cutting down can be difficult
Signs of Online Gambling Addiction
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association, gambling addiction, problem gambling, compulsive gambling or addiction to online gambling is present when four of the following conditions are met:
- Preoccupation with gambling (such as reliving past gambling experiences, planning one’s next gambling session, or devising ways of getting the necessary money to gamble)
- A need to spend greater amounts of money in order to achieve the desired level of excitement
- Multiple unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gambling
- Irritability and restlessness when trying to reduce or quit gambling habits
- Gambling as a way of avoiding problems or temporarily improving one’s mood
- Returning to gambling after losses as a way of earning back lost money (referred to as “chasing losses”)
- Lying to family members, friends, employers and others in an attempt to cover up time spent or money lost while gambling
- Significant relationship, job and/or academic difficulties
- Relying on others for money in order to get out of a desperate financial situation caused by gambling
Like people with substance addiction, compulsive online gambling addiction are also at high risk for many serious problems involving their family and relationships, jobs, careers, health, finances, and reputation. Online gambling addiction is also linked to personality disorders such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and many more. They are also more likely to be addicted to substances such as alcohol.