The Health Effects of Gambling — Signs and Solutions

Health Effects

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Highlights

  • Problem gamblers will find that they spend a lot of time thinking about and planning when they will next gamble.
  • Gambling can have a negative impact on a person's physical, psychological, and social well-being.
  • Players may find that they need to place larger wagers to get the same adrenaline buzz when they win, but have an even bigger low when they lose.

Summary

Gambling is a fun pastime but for some it can become an addiction, leading to financial and health problems. The best online casinos will have a robust responsible gambling policy in place, offering tools for players to control their gambling and links to relevant organizations for help.

The Health Effects of Gambling in Australia

For most people gambling is seen as a source of entertainment and is enjoyed for the fun it provides, along with the excitement of potentially landing a win. It can have some positive health benefits. In fact, one study has shown that recreational and casual gamblers were less likely to suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure. This can possibly be explained by the fact that for some, casual gambling is a source of relaxation and socializing.

In Australia, gambling for money is a popular pastime. As a matter of fact, Australians are among the world’s most prolific gamblers. Sports betting and pokie playing are the top choices, with bars, clubs, and restaurants across the nation providing easy access to pokie machines. More recently there has been a rise in online gambling as more online casinos accept Aussie players.

However, for some, what should be seen as a fun hobby has a darker side and can become a real problem. Pathological and problem gamblers have a high rate of mental illness and substance abuse compared to the general population. Those addicted to gambling may suffer from emotional or psychological suffering. They may experience guilt, anxiety, depression, and self-hatred. Problem gamblers also report higher tobacco, alcohol, and drug use.

What can be done?

There are many things that can be done by both players and casinos to help prevent gambling from becoming a problem.

  • Players should look for a casino that has a clear responsible gambling policy. Many casinos include a quick quiz that players can take to see whether or not they have a problem.
  • The best online casinos will have various tools in place that will allow players to set limits on their gambling. These normally include deposit limits, bet limits, and loss limits.
  • Many online casinos also offer a ‘reality check’ tool, where players can set playing time limits. When the player reaches the time limit, the platform’s alarm rings.
  • Casinos that take responsible gambling seriously will also have cooling-off and self-exclusion tools in place. Cooling-off periods are generally as short as 1 day up to around 1 month, while self-exclusion can last up to a year. During this time, players will not be able to access their casino accounts and will not receive any marketing or propaganda material.
  • If a player is really struggling and feels that their gambling has gotten out of control, they should seek professional help. The best online casinos will provide Aussie players with links to organisations. These can include the Gambling Helpline, Gamblers Anonymous, and Lifeline.