Casual betting is an enjoyable activity that causes no issues for many people. They enjoy placing a bet or visiting a casino, but it never becomes a gambling addiction. However, for some, casual betting can become an unhealthy obsession, and figuring out how to spot the signs and combat a gambling addiction could be life-changing.

How to Identify the Signs in a Gambling Addict?

A gambling addiction is what’s known as an impulse-control disorder which essentially means a person can’t control the impulse they have to gamble. There’s also “problem gambling” which relates to any gambling issue that disrupts a person’s life. Often, spotting the signs of a gambling addiction can be as simple as looking at a person’s behaviour when gambling. A gambling addict will gamble whatever mood they’re in, whether they have enough money to bet and whether it has disastrous consequences or not. Frequently, they will also be secretive about their gambling.

When Does Gambling Become a Problem?

It can be difficult to identify when casual betting becomes a problem, but these are some common markers to be aware of:

  • Gambling when you don’t have the money or have gone over your budget
  • Being secretive about your gambling
  • Being reckless and making outlandish bets
  • Increasing stakes to win money back
  • Keeping gambling secret
  • Others are worried about you

Restrictions to Put in Place to Help a Gambling Addict

Taking steps to limit gambling and therefore limit the effects of it can be taken by everyone, although the effectiveness will vary from person to person. For instance, some may find that leaving the house during the hours they would usually spend gambling online puts enough distance between them and their addiction. For others, gambling control that puts a bigger barrier between them and betting is preferred. Some banks, for example, allow customers to block spending to gambling sites or in betting shops to control impulse betting.

Ban Yourself from Gambling

It’s also possible to ban yourself from betting shops or online sites as another form of gambling control. It’s possible to exclude yourself from individual betting locations or to self-exclude from multiple companies at once.

To self-exclude from a single venue in person, speak to the staff for details. If it’s an online gambling site you wish to self-exclude from, there should be a section to promote responsible gambling. There are several multi-organisational schemes. Search online for “Be Gamble Aware” to learn more about your options.

How to Control Gambling Urges

Gambling control isn’t easy, whether you have a gambling addiction or are struggling with problem gambling. However, there are some practical steps you can take to help combat the compulsion:

  • Identify your trigger points such as boredom or stress and try other ways of alleviating those moods such as physical exercise or new hobbies
  • Target the underlying mood issues that might be triggering gambling issues
  • Build a support network, whether that’s from existing friends and colleagues or new ones who may or may not be aware of your gambling
  • Join a peer support group like Gamblers Anonymous

A gambling addiction can be hugely damaging to your life. If you’re worried that casual betting has escalated into something you can’t control, taking steps towards recovery can be life changing.