gambling addiction

5 Signs You Might be a Gambling Addict Without Realizing It

5 Signs You Might be a Gambling Addict Without Realizing ItImage by Freepik

In the world of entertainment and leisure, gambling has long been a popular pastime for many. While it’s a harmless form of recreation for most, there’s a thin line that, when crossed, leads to a path of addiction. Unfortunately, recognizing the signs of gambling addiction can be challenging, as it often masquerades as innocent enjoyment. In this article, we’ll delve into five subtle signs that may indicate you’re a gambling addict without realizing it.

  1. Obsession with Chasing Losses:

One of the hallmark signs of gambling addiction is the relentless pursuit of losses. If you find yourself in a cycle of continuously trying to recoup money you’ve lost, this could be a red flag. Gambling should be about entertainment, and losses are a natural part of the experience. However, if you’re unable to accept defeat and constantly find yourself returning to the casino, online platform, or betting site to recover losses, it might be time to reassess your relationship with gambling.

  1. Neglecting Responsibilities:

Gambling addiction often leads individuals to neglect their responsibilities in various aspects of life. This could manifest in neglecting work tasks, skipping social obligations, or disregarding family commitments. If you find yourself prioritizing gambling over these important aspects of life, it might be an indication that your hobby has evolved into a destructive force. Pay attention to how your gambling habits affect your daily responsibilities and relationships – a crucial step in recognizing potential addiction.

  1. Increasing Bet Amounts for Excitement:

For some, the thrill of gambling comes from the risk involved. If you notice yourself consistently increasing bet amounts to experience that same level of excitement, it could be a sign of developing addiction. This behavior reflects a diminishing sensitivity to the thrill, leading individuals to seek higher stakes to achieve the same emotional response. Recognizing this pattern early on can be pivotal in preventing a harmless hobby from escalating into a full-blown addiction.

  1. Lying About Gambling Activities:

Deception often accompanies gambling addiction. If you find yourself hiding the extent of your gambling activities or downplaying losses to friends and family, it’s a clear sign that something may be amiss. Shame and guilt associated with excessive gambling can drive individuals to conceal their habits, making it even more challenging to identify and address the issue. Open communication and honesty are crucial in breaking this cycle of deception and seeking the support needed to overcome gambling addiction.

  1. Inability to Quit Despite Negative Consequences:

Perhaps the most telling sign of gambling addiction is the inability to quit despite negative consequences. This could include financial distress, strained relationships, or even legal troubles. If you find yourself unable to walk away from gambling despite recognizing the adverse effects it has on your life, seeking professional help becomes imperative. Acknowledging the problem and actively seeking assistance are crucial steps toward breaking the cycle of addiction.

Conclusion:

Gambling, in moderation, can be an enjoyable and harmless form of entertainment. However, it’s essential to be vigilant about potential signs of addiction that may emerge unnoticed. By recognizing these subtle indicators early on, individuals can take proactive steps to regain control of their gambling habits and prevent the spiral into full-blown addiction. If you identify with any of these signs, reaching out to support networks, friends, and professional help can be the first step towards reclaiming a healthier relationship with gambling. Remember, there’s no shame in seeking assistance, and acknowledging the issue is the first stride toward recovery.

Photo: Freepik

  • The gentleman in this photo isn’t a gambling addict.

Navigating the Casino Landscape: 5 Common Mistakes New Players Should Avoid

Navigating the Casino Landscape: 5 Common Mistakes New Players Should AvoidImage by benzoix on Freepik

Entering the world of casinos can be an exhilarating experience, filled with anticipation and the allure of potential winnings. However, for new players, the excitement can sometimes overshadow prudent decision-making, leading to common mistakes that may impact their overall gaming experience. In this article, we’ll explore five mistakes that new casino players often make and provide insights on how to avoid them.

  1. Ignoring Bankroll Management:

One of the most prevalent mistakes new casino players make is disregarding proper bankroll management. It’s essential to establish a budget before stepping onto the casino floor or logging into an online casino. Failing to set limits can lead to overspending and financial stress. Experts recommend deciding in advance how much money you are willing to spend, setting a loss limit, and sticking to it. Additionally, dividing your bankroll into smaller sessions helps control the urge to chase losses and ensures a more sustainable and enjoyable gaming experience.

2) Overlooking Game Rules and Strategies:

Another common mistake is diving into casino games without fully understanding the rules and strategies. Each game has its own set of rules, odds, and optimal strategies for maximizing your chances of winning. New players often underestimate the importance of familiarizing themselves with the ins and outs of a game before playing. Whether it’s blackjack, poker, or slot machines, taking the time to learn the rules and basic strategies can significantly improve your decision-making during gameplay. Many online platforms offer free play options, allowing players to practice and build confidence before risking real money.

3) Chasing Losses and Ignoring Limits:

The desire to recover losses can lead new players down a dangerous path. Chasing losses, or attempting to win back money after a series of unsuccessful bets, often results in increased wagers and emotional decision-making. This can exacerbate losses and create a negative cycle. Setting loss limits and sticking to them is crucial for maintaining control over your bankroll. It’s essential to recognize that gambling involves both wins and losses, and responsible gaming means accepting the inherent unpredictability without succumbing to impulsive decisions fueled by emotions.

4) Neglecting to Maximize Promotions and Bonuses:

New players often miss out on valuable promotions and bonuses offered by casinos. Whether it’s a welcome bonus, free spins, or loyalty rewards, these perks can significantly enhance your gaming experience. Failing to read and understand the terms and conditions of these promotions can lead to missed opportunities or unexpected requirements. Smart players carefully evaluate the bonuses available, ensuring they align with their gaming preferences and financial goals. Regularly checking for promotions and taking advantage of loyalty programs can add extra value to your casino endeavors.

5) Disregarding Responsible Gambling Practices:

A critical mistake new players sometimes make is neglecting responsible gambling practices. Gambling should be viewed as a form of entertainment, not as a guaranteed source of income. It’s essential to recognize the signs of problematic behavior and establish healthy habits from the outset. Responsible gambling includes setting time limits, taking breaks, and seeking support if needed. New players should be mindful of the potential risks associated with excessive gambling and prioritize a balanced approach that aligns with their personal circumstances.

In conclusion, new casino players can significantly enhance their gaming experiences by avoiding common mistakes and adopting responsible gaming practices. Bankroll management, understanding game rules, and embracing responsible gambling are key pillars in creating a positive and sustainable relationship with casino entertainment. By staying informed, setting limits, and approaching gambling with a level-headed mindset, new players can navigate the casino landscape with confidence and enjoyment. Remember, a successful casino experience is not just about winning; it’s about maintaining control, having fun, and savoring the thrill of the game.

Photo: Freepik

5 Addictions Including Slots & Scratch Cards

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Let’s face it, in an ideal world, no one would become addicted to anything harmful. Drugs, alcohol, gambling…

People become addicted to all manner of things but because it seems so everyday it doesn’t register. Notice how you struggle not to look at your phone every few minutes.

Is that addiction?

One way or another, I suspect we are all addicted to something. If your life functions, you’re not frothing at the mouth, you have your health and haven’t lost all your money. Perhaps, you’re good to go.

For some reason I can’t stop thinking about Homer Simpson in the episode and the Venus Gummy De Milo.

Anyway, from my personal experience, not being addicted to anything, as far as I know, here are my thoughts about 5 addictions.

1) Drinking Alcohol

Yes, I do drink, in moderation. I used to play rugby and I can remember many a time waking up the next morning and feeling as if I had come close to dying in my sleep! That is a touch of hyperbole. I felt rough. In fact, there were many occasions I felt ill all week. Not a good idea. The rugby club used to fill this five gallon watering can and top your pint up as you went along. It was a recipe for near disaster. These days I seldom drink. The thought of a hangover fills me with horror. I remember waking with one in recent years and felt like a bear with a sore head. On the edge of being dangerous. No one wants that. And to be fair who wants to feel ill. I’ve know a good few friends who are alcoholics. They wouldn’t say they were but they are. And sadly one of those drank so much he has brain damage and lives in a care home and in his early fifties. Alcohol is viewed within society as one big laugh. You’re boring if you don’t drink to excess. But in truth it’s a mugs game. It cost far too much money, creates a huge amount of anti social behaviour and ultimately ruins lives. The problem with alcohol, as an industry, is that it’s worth so much money even governments turn a blind eye to the truth. When you see how many isles of a supermarket are filled with alcoholic beverages you don’t need to be a genius to know the truth. Drink less and you will feel better for it and be a better person.

2) Slots

As a youngster I loved playing slots (fruit machines, one-armed bandits). In truth, I don’t like the word slots as it’s not even an English word. We used to go on our annual summer holidays to Caister-on-sea, a stone’s throw from Great Yarmouth. It was back in the 70s. The old Ladbrokes holiday park. Dad went to the 3-Day Eastern Festival to enjoy top-class horse racing, not sure what mum did bar look after us which was a full-time job, and we went to the arcade and played all the machines. You have to remember in the 70s children were encouraged by their parents to gamble. You weren’t a normal child if you weren’t half way to being an addy by your tenth birthday. My twin brother and I must have been born addicts because we couldn’t get enough of them. Our parents didn’t allow us to drink alcohol, smoke or take recreational drugs but we went to the pub with them and the air was a heady mix of alcohol, nicotine and purple hearts. My clothes stank as if I’d smoked 40 John Player Special and I can only imagine what a reading of my blood would have detailed. It was just a normal life for a 10-year-old whose parents loved a night on the town. I loved it too. I’m not sure whether playing those slots was a good or bad thing. These days I find them boring as hell. I can’t stand fixed odds and there is nothing much good about playing slots. They are very addictive and once you start pressing that button it is difficult to stop. I’ve played a few times in recent years, mainly due to boredom, and I’ve gone from winning to losing, once or twice about £200. Very frustrating as the chance to win any amount of money seemed unlikely. These small wins of 13p or something ridiculous. If you’ve ever watched someone play the slots you realise they have turned into a zombie-like character. The spinning reels are the red meat. Do yourself a favour, don’t play slots in any shape or form as they are bad news.

3) Scratch Cards

I can’t say I’m into buying scratch cards, which may be a blessing. I did play the first week of the National Lottery and got 5 out of 6 numbers and won £248 (something like that it wasn’t a great deal of money). I was ruing my luck at having a 1/37 chance of winning about £300,000. What a difference that one number could have made to my life and especially my family. Even the bonus ball would have been several grand! ‘You have to be in it to win it!’ I’m always slightly haunted I change my mind on that wrong number. Just think if I had written an entree to my diary (I don’t have one) and detailed one of two numbers – one beautifully correct and the other horrendously wrong. Anyway, me chatting about what could have been and what was. I’ve noticed a lot of old people when buying their fags or newspaper at the local supermarket or convenience store buy one or more scratch cards. Some look like they haven’t got a pot to piss in and they are spending £20 – £50. It’s like they can’t get enough of the things. It’s all bad news. True they have a chance of winning. My neighbour, Larry, knows a lady who bought a scratch card and won a million. Just think if you were the person who purchased the one before or after. ‘It could be you!’ The reality of scratch cards as it is any fixed odds gamble is that the more you spend the more you will lose. The percentage is the same but 10% of a £1000 is a bloody sight more than £100. It’s times 10 if you need some help! People need to question what they are doing and especially with potential vices. That first purchase could be the making of a bad habit. It doesn’t have to be if you are disciplined, have willpower, and you have an answer to a question. If you don’t think about these things and question your emotions and motivation you will be possessed by a heady mix of neurotransmitters which get you acting like Norman Bates dressing up like his mum and talking about dirty girls and scratch cards. If you find every time you go to the convenience store to buy ‘something’ you rush outside to scratch that silver foil so you don’t have to walk home and back to be a winner then sadly you are an addict. Buy one less scratch card a week until you buy no more. Then you will be a winner.

4) Smoking

Watch an old TV program from the 60s and it seemed like everyone smoked those days. It sounds incredible that in 1962 over 70% of British men and 40% British women smoked. No wonder people had problems. In 2020 the numbers had been lowered to 14.5%. No doubt through education, limited advertising on television and prohibitive costs. My mum and Dad both smoked. My father enjoyed a Castella or five a day, while mum had 20 Embassy, back in the day, and smokes Benson & Hedges (or some brand) now. I can’t help feeling smoking half killed Dad. I can’t imagine it is doing my mother much good either. I think most teenagers try a cigarette. It’s the time and place most get hooked. The cost of looking big in front of your peers. I didn’t like the taste, how it made me feel light headed and feared my parents finding out and, sensibly, considered the health implications. There’s no doubt smoking is addictive. Some people say it’s as addictive as heroin. I haven’t tried to conquer a vice and, perhaps, trivialise the matter as those who struggle as weak. I doubt most are but that’s the impression non-smokers like to imagine. I’d love to be a smoker and say I can stop when I like it and do so but the truth is it can’t be a walk in the park. My Dad loved to smoke a cigar. He’d smoke Castellas and on special occasions King Edwards. I guess on the level of sophisticated cigar smoker he wasn’t but he knew what he liked and enjoyed a good smoke. To be fair, I love the smell of a cigar and especially pipe tobacco. My uncle used to say how back in the day smoking was advertised as fun, sexy and even healthy. There wasn’t much in the way of bad publicity not until people started dying from many and varied forms of cancer. We are all naive to a point. Think of the things in modern times that were accepted without condition. I mean, you could have been smoking a cigar as you covered your eyes on Christmas Island as they tested nuclear bombs. ‘It’s all good fun. Nothing to fear here. You may go home with a decent tan from the second sun in the sky.’ In memory of my Dad I purchased a couple of cigars. I think they cost £20 each. I thought when something good happens, I’ll smoke one of those. Everyone had gone out so I lit one up and enjoyed the smell of it unlit and lit. I enjoyed the look of the cigar as the ash burned. I could tell it was a decent cigar. I thought how Dad would have loved to shared the other cigar sitting in the garden. He’d have appreciated more than I did. After about half an hour I had this thought in my mind. It went beyond a thought to a physical reaction. It made me feel as sick as a dog. Perhaps that was Dad’s way of saying: ‘You don’t need any of those to have the most precious memories of me.’ How true he is and how thankful I am to have had a Dad who was everything and more. Take note of all those loved ones while they are alive. The day will come when someone thinks the very same thing about you whether young or old.

5) Heroin

Thank the Lord I have never dabbled, taken or consumed, or been given against my will heroin. I may have taken prescribed drugs as painkiller, which by all accounts have led some poor people to become addicted to all manner of legal drugs. I pity anyone who finds themselves in such a hole because it must be a misery for them as much as their family and friends. You can probably understand why some people find they are alone in this world. Its not right but I am sure I would struggle living with an addict. I enjoy watching YouTube videos and a fan of Brian Moncada who runs a company in Miami, Florida, called Adspend.com. One of his videos he detailed how he found he was smoking too much weeds to help calm his stress. From something he used to relax and bring higher insight had turned into a problem he wanted to curb. I have never smoke weed. I have no interest in taking any form of illegal drugs. I have little interest unless I am medically advise to take prescribed drugs. Even prescribed I am very careful not to become addicted. I imagine many intelligent people have said exactly the same thing and found themselves on the wrong end of a needle and crack cocaine. He had the insight to have an answer to a question. Like most things in life anything can be a positive and a negative. He said this question: ‘If you were stuck in a cell for 6 months with 20 heroin addicts would you be able to stay sober?’ I thought about this and I’m pretty confident (perhaps naive) that I wouldn’t take drugs at any cost. That cost would be my life. I say this because I am anti drugs and very disciplined to a point of being a robot. If it was my decision, I would like to think I would come out of that cell sober and perhaps bring a few poor souls out with me the same. There is a saying: ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ That would be me with my heroin mates in the cell for 6 months. I’m not sure whether this saying is true or not. But I’m pretty sure birds of a feather flock together. And it’s good reason why we don’t want to associate ourselves with ‘problem people’. I know it sounds harsh but it’s true. It’s a lovely thing to save a person if not the world. But doing so may disturb the hell out of you, taint your mind or lose the battle between good and evil. I watched a TV program aired in the USA called The Intervention. Honestly, what sorry tales about people who often, through no fault of their own, many making a bad decision, have a life which is desperate. I watched one or two episodes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Horrendous situations where people had lost grip on their life and influenced and motivated by drugs. They were a shadow of themselves. Their families crushes, angry and often given up. They had a chance, a choice, to get therapy. Many did. When they returned they were different people. They came back refreshed, full of life, hope, cares and dreams. Most looked ten years younger. They had a choice from that day forth to say yes or no to the temptation that awaited them. At the end of the day, so many times, we have to answer the question with strength and disciple. Do not, if at all possible, create bad habits. Especially those which may lead to potent drugs. They will ruin your life. Life and opportunity should be the only medicine you need.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Bet On Slots

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Bet On SlotsLove them or hate them slots are big business as a profit making machine for casinos online or brick-and-mortar. To be honest, I’m not keen on betting slots as they are said to be the most addictive form of gambling. There is something slightly soul destroying about pressing a button – without thinking – and winning or more likely losing cash.

My upbringing was about gambling. A child of the 70s, my parents who loved a drink and a smoke, literally encouraged us to have a bet on the fruit machines and one-armed bandits. I loved every moment. The best part being a memory of playing an Indian Head Jennings slot machine before it was realised they were collectors item. I think the benefit of playing these 2p slots was that it got it out of my system. I am a gambler but not on the slots as I find them boring, depressing and pretty much futile.

As a form of winning, being non skill based, they are pointless as a way of making money beyond pure luck.

Sure, we all need a little bit of luck, and that can happen at any time, but if you play the slots week-in-week out you’re onto a big-time loser.

1) As with all gambling, set out your stall by deciding how much you will bet. When playing slots, this is even more important as the repetitive nature of slots can be mind-numbing. Also, check the jackpot prize money. If you are playing 25p a go and the top price is £100 you have to question why bother. Considering you can lose £10 in a matter of 40 spins it’s truly a bad idea.

2) Did you know that 70% of casino revenue from Las Vegas comes from slots. That tells you how popular they are a real money maker for establishments.

3) Be careful not to drink alcohol while playing slots. It’s a disaster.

4) There is no strategy to playing and winning on slots. There are seemingly no ways to improve your chance of cashing in. You can have a system but it doesn’t help improve your odds of winning. On average, the casino edge is 8%. So for a continuous betting run if £1000 you expect to lose £80. I’m sure the slots I have played have been considerably worse.

5) My person opinion is that slots are bad news. However, everyone has their likes and dislikes and that can only be a matter of personal choice. I would just say that slots are more addictive than most forms of gambling and that’s why it is a good idea to limit your stakes and keep account of losses. If the number are truly negative you know the only answer is to stop. Playing £1 or £2 a spin can result in losses of £1000 per hour.

Photo: Pixabay (free)

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Gamble

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t GambleEven after some 30+ years of gambling – I’m still learning. Which should tell any novice or would be professional gambler something. It’s far from easy to beat the bookies and impossible (without cheating) to take the casinos for a ride.

True, you can get lucky. I didn’t say you needed skill to make a fortune gambling but if you don’t have knowledge then you had best pray you are that one in a million who strikes it lucky. It happens every day of the year to someone. As the adverts says: ‘’It could be you!’’

Reality says it won’t.

Gambling in films is both glamourised and vilified. James Bond will always win whichever number he chooses. Lady luck won’t just touch his cards!

But should a novice gambler really pin their hopes on making some easy money?

Here are five reasons why you are best keeping your money in your pocket.

1) What Makes A Winner?

You may be thinking if only I had enough money I could make my gambling pay. The idea being that you can bet £10,000 to win £1,000 on every 1/10f and you are guaranteed to win money. It’s like taking candy from a baby. Isn’t it? Sadly, its not that easy at all. In fact, being a successful gambler takes so much time and dedication you may be better off simply getting an average job. Because what makes a professional gambler isn’t really to do with money (you need it to bet that’s for sure) but knowledge is key. And if you think money is hard to come by, then winning knowledge is an even rarer commodity. It will take you years to know that little more than most and there still is no guarantee you will be living the Bond lifestyle.

2) Can You Even Get An Account?

Bookmakers, casinos, and umpteen establishments which encourage you to bet will tell you a different story if they think – let alone show them – you are a winner rather than a loser. They will close your account without any reason. So not only do you need to win money but look like you are a loser (it’s possible but you should know this for yourself). You simply cannot bet and win without someone taking an interest. And trust me, they won’t be wanting to help you win more money.

3) Gambling Is A Full-time Job

You won’t be working the normal 9-5. When all your mates are down the pub on a Saturday evening you will be getting ready for a day if not weekend of bets. You may think all these things can be done earlier and you simply can do as you please without any hindrance to your life or plans. If you believe that, you are living in cloud cuckoo land. Gambling will take over your life. You will feel like you are on a conveyor belt. Keep up or fall behind. Fall behind and you may as well give up. There will always be someone to take advantage of any mistake. You have to be professional at all times.

4) Can You Cope With The Stress?

Gambling is so very easy when everything is going well and the money is flooding in. It’s a joyous time where you live the life of luxury, the jet-set lifestyle, everything is possible and then it all goes wrong. It might not, but you will be wise to consider how do you cope when that losing run goes on and on and you fear it will never end? Your ample supply of money is dwindling and you start to question what you are thinking or doing. You are looking for answers to questions. And that is even more of a worry than the predicament you are already in. Because you will often swap one problem with another until you have no confidence left to bet with skill. Betting and winning is all about confidence. But how do you find that when it slips away? The stress is something few non gamblers will ever experience. It’s far from a day at the races.

5) Is The Gamble Worthwhile?

For 99.9% the dream of being a professional gambler is in truth a nightmare waiting to happen. The time and experience you need to be of a winning standard isn’t something you will acquire easily. It will take you years to get halfway there. Even then there is no guarantee. Knowledge and wisdom change over time. There will be a need to adapt to maintain that level of ability. But with every change you bring uncertainty. You will move one step forward and two back. With every season you will face pressures and stress that most people aren’t capable of succeeding. Gambling is a journey where you only see those important questions all too late. Questions you hadn’t even considered will appear before you. They all need answers. For all but a few, gambling isn’t a worthwhile pursuit. You are more likely to lose money than win unless you are the exception to the rule.

You will need to be disciplined and fanatical with a mindset as hard as steel.

Photo: Pixabay (free)