And one of the fastest growing addictions at present is online gambling.
Just some online fun, or are you actually gambling?
No, you aren’t physically going to a casino or the races. But “just spending a few quid online now and then for fun” does not mean you are not gambling. If you are paying money to try to win money, it’s gambling.
All of the following qualify as online gambling:
online poker and bingo
sports betting and horse racing bets placed online
What makes one person prone to addiction, and not another? It’s a complex question and can vary for each individual.
It’s thought that there can be a genetic component – if you have a parent with addictive behaviours, you might be more prone to them yourself.
Or it could be learned behaviour. We tend to mimic in our own lives what we watched growing up until we take the time to assess our choices and make different ones.
From a psychological angle, addictions can be seen as an attempt to escape emotional pain, and also stem from an inability to feel connected to others. This means that other factors that can lead to addictive behaviour include:
hostile or stressful relationships with parents growing up
It’s down to accessibility. Yes, the UK has put new guidelines into play and it’s not legal to gamble online if you are under 18.
But online gambling means you can take a risk anywhere you have an internet signal and a mobile phone – which in modern life is almost anywhere and anytime. It gives new meaning to ‘instant gratification’ if you have a tendency to gamble.
It’s ease of use also means it’s easier to convince yourself you are not gambling or don’t have a problem. You aren’t driving to the casino for all to see, you are using your phone. Nobody will suspect you are gambling, and it’s easier to tell yourself ‘it’s not a big deal’ and hide your addiction even while playing in front of everyone.
As for the numbers, it’s estimated online gambling will see a shocking global spend of over $55 billion by 2018. In the UK alone there has been a 10% increase in the last year in those who gamble online, and statistics also show that the new rising concern is amongst young people who are being targeted by advertisements. The UK’s Gambling Commission recently found that 68% of 18-24 year olds who have gambled have done so after seeing an advert on social media.
Can Counselling Really Help With Addiction?
Absolutely. A psychotherapist or counsellor who specialises in helping those with addictions can help you get to the root of why you are driven to gamble in the first place. They can also help you get back on track with your career and relationships if these things have suffered because of your gambling habit.