Addiction affects all sorts of individuals around the globe. While addiction can come in different forms, most of them create an obsession for individuals to repeat an indulgence to satisfy their cravings. It is not just drugs or alcohol that you can get addicted to. It can also be the Internet and gambling. In Australia, it was found out that one Aussie is killed every single day due to gambling addiction.
Gambling Sucks You into a Dangerous Whirlpool
It was Stella’s first-time entering the casino. Something caught her attention when she spotted another woman playing slots on the machine, just about 3 metres away from where she was seated. She approached the woman and asked, “How’s this game played?” The rest is history. Before Stella knew it, she was already addicted not just to playing slot machines but other gambling-related games inside the casino.
This is an ordinary prologue shared by people who have started gambling and became addicted to it. Generally, it starts with fun. You can begin betting a small amount until the point you start placing larger bets. When you win, you can no longer resist the temptation of betting more money on the game. After all, betting more will mean more winnings for you, if you are lucky.
When You Start Losing a Lot of Money…
Some first-time gamblers tend to be attracted to play more when they lose. Some would say “What is $20 lost if I can win $500 in another spin or two?” They become trapped in that vicious cycle. The urge to try one’s luck will make one play even more, even after winning that $500 pot. Before you even know it, you frequent the gambling establishment with hopes of winning more money.
Face it! Gambling, whether through a Casino near you or an online gambling website, will not really do you any good. Why wait until you lose $500,000 and admit that you are deep in debt before you quit? What’s in it that makes you want to play more even if you have already lost so much money in the past?
What Makes Gambling Addictive?
Those who are against gambling might know that it is the music that causes an individual to become addicted to the game. Some machines also encourage players with words such as “Try your luck today and win more!” Rewarding players with minor wins also make them feel that there is a good chance of winning big through subsequent tries. All these elements pretend to bring everyone hope and luck. However, to one’s dismay, it does not really work that way.
A Look at Australia’s Gambling Statistics
You may be wondering how rampant the gambling problem is in Australia. Let us start with this fact. Most countries limit gambling opportunities to casinos and licenced betting outlets. In Australia, the government permits betting and gambling in sports clubs, hotels, and Returned and Service League clubs (RSLs). In addition, here are some gambling statistics to keep in mind:
- Local punters gambled away $23 billion last year. More than half of this amount went to slot machines.
- The country is also home to one fifth of the total number of slot machines all over the world. There are more than 200,000 machines in the country. Slot machines can be found in every corner of the street.
- Pokies are ranked as the biggest drivers of Australia’s gambling industry.
- One in six Aussies are addicted to gambling.
- Regular players lose about $21,000 per year.
- In total, the social cost of gambling is approximately $4.7 billion every year.
- Approximately 400 Australians committed suicide every year due to their gambling problems. That is an average of 1 Australian per day killing themselves due to gambling.
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has the following latest statistics to share when it comes to gambling in Australia:
- The total gambling expenditure in Australia has decreased by 0.5 per cent from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. While expenses dropped from $23.804 billion to $23.694 billion, it still hits the $23 billion mark per year.
- Every adult in Australia spent $1,277.83 in 2015-2016. This decreased by 1.7 per cent in 2016-2017 with a per adult expenditure recorded at $1,251.39
- Gambling equipment expenditure increased by 0.5% for the said fiscal year comparisons, from $12.074 billion to $12.136 billion.
- Race betting expenditure has increased by 6.9 per cent from $3.099 billion to $3.13 billion
- Sports betting expenditure, on the other hand, increased from $921 million in 2015-2016 to $1.062 billion in 2016-2017.
- Casino expenditure for 2016-2017 was recorded at $4.790 billion, indicating a 7.8 per cent decrease from 2015-2016’s $5.195 billion.
Australia’s Gambling Scene
While Australia became one of the most prominent countries where gambling addiction exists, it has to be noted too that the country is the world’s biggest loser in the world of gambling. Spending about $992 per capita for the previous year pertaining to gambling loss. Other countries that follow include Hong Kong and Finland. It has even defeated the U.S., whose Las Vegas casinos are very prominent and popular all over the world. The United States ranks 7th among the biggest gambling losers. The data was produced by the Global Betting and Gaming Consultants, a research company based in the UK.
What the Australian Government is Doing about Gambling Addiction
The Australian government made the effort to implement stricter rules when it comes to slot machines. This is when Wilkie agreed to support then Julia Gillard’s government in 2010. A proposal was raised to allow a maximum bet of $1 as shown in the so-close enactment. However, club lobbyists found the proposal un-Australian like. That is why Gillard ended up shifting the deal to the sidelines. Gambling reforms were not able to make their way because the Coalition government was then elected thereafter.
Is there still hope for reform? The opposition spokeswoman for gambling, Julie Collins, said yes to the possibility. Appropriate harm minimisation was suggested to allow gambling to be regulated within the Australian society. The problem lies in the fact that some slot machine owners are not willing to cooperate, stating that gamblers are consenting adults. These business owners believe that players are gambling as a source of entertainment and do know what the odds are if they get addicted to gambling.
Reputable Australian bookmakers are strictly regulated and all of their communications must include warnings about gambling responsibly.
What Really Is Gambling Addiction?
Before we can even answer the question: “When is it time to seek help for gambling addiction?”, let us answer what this term is all about. Otherwise known as compulsive gambling, gambling addiction is a individual’s inability to stop himself or herself from gambling even when losses already take a toll on his or her finances, career, and personal relationships. This type of addiction can also occur alongside drug or alcohol addiction.
Signs of Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction, being considered as a disorder, include the following signs and symptoms:
- Constantly planning how to get more money that can be used for gambling
- Being preoccupied with gambling most of the time, even when one is at work
- Enjoy the thrill of gambling with increasing amounts of money
- Attempting to control or stop gambling but does not succeed
- Irritable when someone stops him or her from gambling
- Using gambling as an excuse to escape from problems or relieve feelings of guilt, depression, helplessness, and anxiety
- Recouping losses by gambling more money, placing larger bets in every session
- Resorting to fraud or theft just to be able to get money for gambling
- Asking friends and family to help out during financial trouble caused by gambling
- Losing personal relationships
There are people who play cards and slot machines but do not develop a gambling problem. However, there are risk factors that increases the chances of a person developing a gambling disorder. Among them are the following:
- Age. Note that this disorder tends to be more common in middle-aged people, as well as those who are younger. If you happen to gamble during your teenage years, chances are you will develop the disorder later on in life. This does not eliminate the possibility of developing compulsive gambling habits when you are older.
- Sexual Orientation. Men are exposed more to gambling than women. This is because most women start gambling at an older age than men. In recent years, research has shown that women become addicted to gambling more quickly. Now, the ratio of men to women with gambling disorders is almost equal.
- Mental Health Disorders. Some people who gamble compulsively have already been exposed to other types of addiction. Some may be suffering from substance abuse disorders, while others have personality disorders. It can also be associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and bipolar disorder.
- Family Or Peer Influence. If your friends or family members have encouraged you to gamble, chances are they may be addicted to gambling. You can become addicted too if you do not keep up your guard.
- Dopamine Use. If you are suffering from restless leg syndrome or Parkinson’s disease, you will have to take medications that will help you manage your condition. If you have been prescribed dopamine agonists, consumption of such medication can result in compulsive behaviours. Some people will suffer from gambling addiction from this.
What are the Effects of Gambling Addiction?
Gambling addiction can create a wide range of effects that can impact your life in the long run. One of those effects include failed personal relationships. Remember that it can also result in bankruptcy and other major financial problems. You may also face jail time if you allow gambling addiction to take over your life. For example, committing fraud or stealing money out of desperation. Some of you perform start to perform poorly at work, thus leading to a potential loss of career. Having suicidal thoughts and committing suicide are also side effects of compulsive gambling.
When is it Time to Seek Help?
Seeing a doctor, particularly a mental health professional, can help you better manage gambling addiction. These experts can offer gambling addiction treatment. It will be very hard to know if it is time to seek professional assistance, unless of course, a family member or friend intervenes. At first, you may be caught in denial. This is a common occurrence when an individual suffers from an addiction.
Today’s Treatment Options for Gambling Addiction
Experts will usually diagnose the problem via a series of evaluation procedures pertaining to gambling addiction. He or she will ask questions that are related to your gambling habits in particular. From there, the medical professional will schedule a meeting with a friend or a family member. Your medical information will also be reviewed. A psychiatric assessment will also be made.
Following the diagnosis, a series of treatments will be recommended. This can be a very challenging problem considering the fact that a gambling addict can be in denial of his or her situation. When you are ready, however, you can undergo gambling addiction treatment. This starts from therapy, either one-or-one or with a group. Next, you may need to attend addiction counselling sessions. In addition, you may be prescribed medication during the course of your treatment. Self-help groups can also assist you in battling against this prevailing condition.
Looking for Gambling Addiction Rehab in Sydney?
Today, recovering gambling addicts have many options for treating gambling addiction in Sydney. At The Cabin Sydney, we offer leading outpatient services that are guaranteed to help you succeed in your journey to recovery. We will look intently at your condition. Once we have diagnosed the causes of your addiction, we will recommend a treatment that best suits your needs and lifestyle. This will ensure that you will be well-taken care of by our team of psychiatrists and health professionals in our rehab centre.
Learn more about gambling addiction treatment by calling our hotline at +61 2 9159 6628. Our counsellors and representatives are caring, knowledgeable, and friendly.