February 16, 2024

Commemorating International Responsible Gambling Day on 17 February 2024

By Ginevra Alessandrello

Trusted and reputable top online casinos have consistently spread responsible gambling messages, but on 17 February 2024 in commemoration of International Responsible Gambling Day, this awareness will be enhanced ten-fold. Regulators, governments and the gambling industry are focusing on safer gambling habits to help vulnerable players.

Since online casinos opened in the early 1990s, gambling has been promoted as fun-filled entertainment. While most people can gamble within those parameters, there’s no fun in it for some. When a person starts playing compulsively, they struggle to log off. They will be obsessed about winning and will chase wins, hoping to get back what they’ve lost.

Since COVID-19, the world was forced to lock themselves indoors, with little to do. Many turned to online casinos as a pastime. With scores of new players registering daily, the best online casinos and regulatory authorities have joined hands to combat the rise of gambling addiction.

Responsible gambling events taking place globally

There are several events taking place globally during the month of February and March 2024 in commemoration of this international day. They include the following:

The Washington-based National Council on Problem Gambling will be hosting the Digital Symposium 2024 – which is one of the bigger initiatives – taking place on 15 February 2024. Three other follow-up events are scheduled to take place in May, September and November. On the agenda is the topic of the ripple effect of problem gambling on families, approaches to supporting loved ones, financial counselling, gambling treatment and recovery experiences.

Meanwhile, the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) in Canada will be hosting the Discovery 2024 conference from 25 to 27 March 2024 to drive change and deliver impact for responsible gambling. Attendees will be joining in person and online.

The South African Responsible Gambling Foundation, on the other hand, has uploaded a Self-Check Quiz on its Homepage in red. The quiz helps players determine if they have a gambling problem and provides support and resources on what they can do.

How Do Online Casinos Promote Responsible Gambling?

Reputable and licensed top online casinos provide responsible gambling tools on their sites for players to use. By activating the safety features, players can control how much they play and spend.

They can do this by self-excluding (temporarily or permanently), which can be set for 1 week, 1 month, or permanently. After requesting self-exclusion, the casino will block you instantly. If you have opted for temporary self-exclusion, it will take a few hours until the changes are made and your account is activated.

Players can also set deposit limits, initiate cooling off periods, and even activate loss limits. Many best online casinos also include a “Reality Check” tool that consistently reminds individuals of the duration they have been playing for, the amounts they have wagered, and calculating how much real money they have lost over a period of time.

People who feel they have a gambling issue can also attend therapy or get involved with support groups. There is no shame in seeking help, but for many of those afflicted, their addiction is a dirty little secret they don’t share with anyone.

People who feel they may have a problem with gambling are encouraged to make use of national helplines in their home countries, which are free of charge. These types of call centres are confidential and offer expert advice and support.

Unpacking Gambling Addiction

Gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system with a release of Dopamine, the happiness hormone. When dopamine levels drop, addicted players feel the need to chase wins to get back those good feelings.

Experts say that 70% of study participants with mood disorders use gambling as a coping strategy to escape their symptoms. Gambling addiction is when players become so consumed by thoughts of winning that they obsess and chase wins. Addicts often play with money they don’t have, spend their work time gambling, avoid socialising, and even disguise their gambling behaviour. Compulsive gambling is a mental disorder that offers no warning.

People can gamble for years and never develop a gambling addiction, while others play once and are addicted. Life-changing events like divorce or financial problems can be the catalyst for an addiction to develop. Real-money games like slots, poker, roulette, and blackjack are fun and should never be used for anything other than entertainment.

Gambling addiction only happens to 2-3% of the gambling population. Still, when we consider that there are a staggering 8 billion people in the world and that gambling is a $400 billion industry, it’s clear that most adults enjoy this pastime.

Since Covid-19, online casino games like slots, sports betting, and table games have become extremely popular. Most individuals are able to play within their budget, but others struggle with this. Problem gambling was only identified as an addiction in the late 1980s, before this, gambling was seen as entertainment. After intensive studies, compulsive gambling was eventually re-classified as an addiction.

The stigma around problem gambling

The stigma around gambling addiction has impacted the choices made by individuals around the world. It impacts prevention and treatment.

According to a scientific paper ‘Gambling Disorder and Stigma’ – published in 2022 by Leanne Quigley – gambling disorders are among the most stigmatized mental health problems. She states that such stigma leads to concealment, reduced treatment-seeking, and decreased self-esteem.

Stigma is the negative evaluations and attitudes about a condition, leading to discrimination of individuals. In her paper, Quigley says this then leads to self-stigma.

The stigma attached to gambling addiction is prevalent in all countries. If there is one thing you can do to help others, it would be to help raise awareness and speak out against the stigma. No one deserves to be shamed!

References

Quigley L. (2022). Gambling Disorder and Stigma: Opportunities for Treatment and Prevention. Current addiction reports, 9(4), 410–419. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-022-00437-4

 
 
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