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Facts about online gambling

When one bet just isn't enough

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Gambling has always existed. However, it is now easier to access than ever thanks to online gambling.

Online gambling can be done through:

  • Websites
  • Apps
  • Video games on your computer or phone that require you to spend money

Studies have shown that Ireland has one of the highest rates of online gambling in the world per capita, so it’s important to understand the risks involved.

Is online gambling safe?

Some people may see online gambling as less serious than gambling in the bookies, but it is just as easy to become addicted to gambling online. In fact, there can be even greater risks linked to online gambling, including:

  • Easy access to online betting which is always available 24/7.
  • Many websites give you a number of free bets to get you started. To keep you playing they will also offer more bets to ensure you stay online as long as possible.
  • It is very easy for betting companies to track your betting habits and therefore target you specifically making it harder to stop betting.

How do I know if I’m addicted to online gambling?

Signs that you may be addicted to gambling include:

  • Trouble controlling your gambling or difficulty taking time off from it
  • Trying to hide your gambling, how much money you spend, or the sites you visit
  • Becoming annoyed if you can’t access a computer or phone to gamble
  • Lying about the amount of time you spend gambling  or the money you spend
  • Neglecting relationships or responsibilities
  • Losing interest in socialising
  • Spending a lot of time online or on your phone on gambling apps and websites
  • Thinking a lot about gambling – when and how you will do it, as well as thinking about cutting back

Read more about the signs of a gambling addiction here.

How to get help

It can be difficult to overcome a gambling addiction but the first step is admitting you need help. Some things you can do include:

  • Many people with this problem will benefit from specialised addiction counselling. You can visit the Addiction Counsellors of Ireland website for useful resources and options.
  • Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous may be helpful.
  • You can call Problem Gambling Ireland for advice and support on 089 241 5401.

  • Many people find that taking up an exciting substitute hobby such as hiking, rock climbing or surfing makes it easier to stay away from gambling.
  • Relaxation techniques can be very useful for addictions. Activities such as yoga, pilates, meditation and even baths can really be helpful.

How to help a friend who has a problem with gambling

If your friend has a problem with gambling, there are things you can do to help them get through it:

  • Be a listening ear and keep in touch with them. Let your friend/partner know that they can vent to you anytime. Try not to give advice, just listen as best as you can or help them find support.
  • Offer to do an activity or new hobby with them. Maybe take up a yoga class together or join them in other activities such as rock climbing.
  • Seek out a support group for family and friends of gamblers, if you have been affected by your friend’s gambling. Gam-Anon is a helpful support network for friends and family of those with gambling problems.
  • Encourage them to seek out professional help. If they are already seeing someone, encourage them to keep appointments and to keep working on their issue.
  • If they gamble online or using their smartphone encourage them to spend more time offline, or to switch to a basic phone that can't download gambling apps.
  • Avoid locations and situations in which they might be tempted to gamble such as casinos or pubs near betting shops.
  • While you might want to help your friend, loaning or giving them money can actually enable the addiction
  • Be patient. Take things one day at a time, and don’t expect that your friend is able to stop right away. Gambling is a compulsive behaviour, so it’s hard to stop for a lot of reasons. Remember to be supportive while they try to make a huge change in their life.

Find out more about how you can support a friend with a gambling problem here.

How can I stop gambling?

Gambling can be difficult to give up and you may have to try a few different things but recovery is possible no matter how hopeless the situation may appear. You can call Problem Gambling Ireland for information and support on 089 241 5401.

For more information on gambling support services, click here.

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Published February 25th, 2013
Last updated December 5th, 2017
Tags gambling online addiction
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