We previously introduced Casino Guardian readers to the rights and responsibilities they have when gambling on the web. The final publication in our three-part series deals with the serious issue of problem gambling. Its causes, symptoms, and the organisations problem gamblers in the UK can seek support from. You can access the first part of the series here, and the second one here.
Most people in the UK get involved in one form of gambling or another at least once in their lives. With the increased popularity of online gambling, it is now easier than ever to make a few bets from the comfort of one’s surroundings. Many gamble solely for recreational purposes. But there are also those for whom gambling becomes a serious problem that interferes with their normal day-to-day lives.
The figures are, unfortunately, more than disconcerting. According to a report released by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in 2017, as many as 430,000 Brits are struggling with gambling addiction.
To fully grasp the seriousness of the issue, one needs to understand what problem gambling is in the first place. This was initially considered an impulse control disorder. Similar to conditions like pyromania and kleptomania. Where the individual displays certain types of compulsive behaviour for the purposes of relieving anxiety.
Thanks to the progress in psychology and neuroscience in the 21st century, scientists were able to establish problem gambling is more of an addictive disorder that shares a number of similarities with conditions like drug and alcohol addiction.
These similarities include an increase in tolerance levels which causes pathological gamblers to gradually increase their stakes in order to achieve the same mental effect and displaying symptoms of psychological withdrawal like insomnia, anxiety, depression, and irritability. Needless to say, this has a significant negative impact on the lives of pathological gamblers.
Certain individuals are more inclined to develop a gambling addiction. For instance, there is a higher risk for a given person to become a pathological gambler if they have family members who have suffered from the so-called alcohol use disorder. Additionally, research indicates that both problem gamblers and substance/alcohol addicts exhibit common behavioural predispositions such as impulsivity.