Last updated September 2023
Responsible Gambling Addiction Guide
We do not offer direct professional Psychologist guidance. However, we take player protection and player health as a top priority.
It is worth noting there is plenty of help and support out there for those both concerned about a gambling problem or know of one who may be suffering. Here, we’d like to offer you advice from a leading expert in the field and the necessary steps and precautions.
What are gambling problems – How to help support someone with one?
If an individual is spending more than they can afford or spending more time than usual gambling, it could be time to talk to an expert. A reliable Canadian resource you can turn to is the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC). The RGC is an independent, non-profit agency that dedicates its services and time to helping those prevent problem gamblers.
5 early warning signs of a gambling problem
1 – Lying:
You are hiding your gambling and/or are lying to cover it up. A hallmark trait of any addiction, quite frankly, is keeping it a secret. You’ve given up enjoying it moderately with others and feel compelled to engage, knowing others may be concerned. This may be something an individual doesn’t want to hear but is an early sign of problem gambling.
2 – Excessive/Obsessive thinking:
You think about gambling from the moment you wake up through the entire day. It is always in the back of your mind. You get “high” with the ritualistic planning, conniving, and figuring out when you can be alone or away from those who may catch you in the act and attempt to stop you or just judge you.
3 – Cheating on those important to you:
You shirk responsibilities, putting your gambling fix ahead of other priorities in life, which could be work or time with loved ones. In the moment of an urge, you pledge your allegiance to gamble before anything important to you.
4 – Selfishness:
Without knowing, you are spending your savings, or your partners, which will impact others without you thinking about it. You may well try to justify your actions and refuse to see what it’s costing your family, rather than stop gambling.
5 – Irresponsible:
You are maxing out your credit cards, which could lead to your credit score plummeting.
What steps may a person take to assist themselves?
Cooling off periods, arranging deals with your creditors, establishing deposit and withdrawal limitations, providing total financial transparency to your family, restricting deposit cards, shutting accounts, etc., are all effective strategies. Yet, this is cosmetic if no underlying concerns are addressed.
It may be beneficial for the gambler to confront the sorrow that drives this impulse to “win.” Engaging with a therapist specializing in addictions, resolving untreated trauma, identifying the sources of low self-worth, and finding strategies to increase it are essential for sustaining financial sobriety.
Gamblers Anonymous is a great and free method to begin this journey, which is sufficient for some. Some find it beneficial when combined with psychotherapy. Yet, for some, SMART Recovery or a life coach is more beneficial. Individuality distinguishes each road to healing.
People may have to rely on trial and error to discover their favourite direction, but they must remember that the process is worthwhile. Creating a life balance and finding purpose and happiness in artistic endeavours, health and fitness, volunteering, etc., is also crucial. When you abandon a habit, a void will be created. Replace it with something more uplifting.
Gambling Problems Support System
Responsiblegambling.org is an excellent beginning place for gathering as much information as possible on the issue. Whether this assistance is for yourself or someone else, there is a great deal of help available. If you know someone who may be in distress, you have access to assistance.
Responsible Gaming Resources for Canadians
Responsible Gambling Council’s efforts to safeguard Canadians and its helpful tools for gaming in moderation can be found at https://www.responsiblegambling.org/. If a player you know, a friend, or a loved one suffers from gambling problems or addiction, resources, including professional counselling, are available.
Gamblers Anonymous offers further options to get help for oneself or another gambler, http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/addresses, which has meetings, emails, and phone numbers for Gamblers Anonymous in several Canadian provinces.