Internet Gambling Addiction

By on November 20, 2012

Approximately 6 million people in the United States are bound by an Internet gambling addiction. Most people who play online games, are considered to be casual gamblers, however the number of individuals who become pathological or compulsive gamblers is growing.

Online gaming, which can include traditional casino games, poker, sports betting and bingo, is much more accessible than traditional casino gambling. According to a 2006 UK-based study, approximately 75% of all people who gamble online will develop some sort of gambling problem. Compare those figures to traditional casino gamblers, of whom only 20% are likely to develop a serious gambling problem, and it becomes apparent why there are so many concerns about Internet gambling.

Who Can Become Addicted?
Anyone can become addicted to Internet gambling. While most online gamblers are single, college-educated men under the age of 40, this addiction can hit both men and women of any age group. In fact, studies show that one out of ten people have experienced some level of online gambling addiction. The number of addicted Internet gamblers has almost doubled each year and continues to grow due to increased accessibility via mobile devices.

Why Do People Become Addicted?
Studies have shown that players can become addicted to online gaming in a very short amount of time. The more they play, the higher the risk of personal and financial damage as a result. The websites that target these compulsive players create games that are visually attractive and are designed to lure players back on a daily or regular basis. Outside of the state of Nevada, sports betting is illegal, but that doesn’t stop players from betting online via popular websites.

Players become addicts because online gambling creates a very addictive high that is extremely intense. Most addicts don’t realize that they have a problem until their gambling gets out of hand and causes some sort of destruction in their lives. Sadly, less online gambling addicts are identifying themselves as having a serious problem today.

Signs of Addiction
Not every single online gambler who plays on a daily basis is considered an addicted or compulsive gambler. The signs of addiction can be difficult to identify at first, but once the addiction takes hold, it can become impossible to ignore. Use of credit cards, bank cards and direct debit helps the money to go faster than it does when using cash, leading to financial crisis, bankruptcy and more.

Many gambling addicts will view online gambling as a way to make money or pay off debts rather than a form of entertainment. Gambling addicts will often steal from others in order to keep playing or even think about committing suicide when the addiction gets out of control. Emotional highs and lows are usually the first signs of addiction.

What You Can Do
If you think that you or a loved one might have an Internet gambling addiction, it is important to address the issues and seek help or support as soon as possible. When talking to a loved one about their gambling addiction, it is important to remember that shame and embarrassment are typical byproducts of addictive behavior, so it is important that you handle the situation compassionately or through an intervention-type process.

Lillian Sanders is a freelance writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing articles on health and wellness. Aside from writing, Lillian works with a drug rehabilitation program helping people struggling with addiction. Found out more about addiction here.

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