Responsible Gambling Guidelines – How to Avoid Problem Gambling and Get Support

Since we are not an online casino that offers you real money games, we do not offer any player protection tools that minimize gambling harm. However, we guide players to the best online casinos and provides valuable information about online casino gaming.

This is why we feel the need to tell you everything about problem gambling and how to gamble responsibly to minimize the risk of gambling harm.

What Is Responsible Gambling?

Responsible gambling is gambling in such a way that you are completely protected from gambling harm. When you gamble responsibly, you have fun. You are in complete control over your finances and your emotions and you know exactly when to stop.

When you don’t gamble responsibly, you are not having fun. You are not in control of your finances, emotions, or gambling sessions. You have either become a problem gambler or developed an addiction to gambling.

Gambling is a form of entertainment for most players, a harmless way of spending their free time and money they can afford to lose. Responsible gamblers know that the house always wins in the long run. They understand that the onus of staying safe from the harmful consequences of gambling is on them.
Licensed online casinos are also required by law to protect their customers from gambling harm. They have to inform and educate their players about responsible gambling, problem gambling, addiction to gambling, and other related subjects.

Top-rated online casinos offer a set of gambling management tools, also known as player protection tools, to help players gamble responsibly and stick to their budgets. Also, the best online casinos get into partnerships with non-profit organizations so that problem gamblers and those at risk for gambling harm get the required help and support at the earliest possible.

When we recommend online casinos for NZ players, we check for both licensing and support for responsible gambling. Our recommend NZ online casinos have been licensed in well-known and reputed gambling jurisdictions such as Malta, UK, Gibraltar, Alderney, Isle of Man, and others. These jurisdictions have strict gambling laws. To retain and renew their license, online casinos licensed in these jurisdictions have to maintain strong responsible gambling policies.

Gambling Harm – Are You at Risk?

When players start gambling, they are confident that they can control their gambling activities. But the simple truth is that all players are at equal risk for gambling harm. If you aren’t careful, you can lose control over your casino spending and turn into either a gambling addict or a problem gambler.

Here is a list of people at risk for gambling harm:

Family History – If someone in your family is a problem gambler or a gambling addict, your chances of experiencing gambling harm are higher. Family environment, genetics, and family history have an important role to play in determining risk for gambling harm.

Starting Early – People who started gambling early in life are also at a higher risk for gambling harm.

Medical Conditions – If you have certain medical conditions, your chances of experiencing gambling harm are higher. For example, research has shown that the risk of becoming a problem gambler is seven times greater for players suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Why You Must Admit It

If you feel that you have become a problem gambler, the first step to overcoming your problem is to come forward and admit it. Start by talking to your friends or family members about it. You may have become a victim of gambling harm because of certain unknown emotional or psychological issues, and it is time you become aware of those.

Unfortunately, gambling addiction remains unseen for a long time. Friends and family members don’t even notice that someone is addicted to gambling until it is too late. That’s why you should never keep your gambling activities a secret. Bring it out into the open and talk about it so that someone can help you in case you suffer from any of the negative consequences of gambling.

Problem Gambling – What Causes It?

Several research studies have been made on the causes of problem gambling and gambling addiction, but still, no one knows exactly the exact cause of problem gambling behaviour.

We have already pointed out that family history, genetics, early gambling, pre-existing medical conditions, and so on have an important role to play. But one cannot say for sure that these cause problem gambling.

Studies have shown clearly that people become problem gamblers because they have existing emotional or psychological issues. Most of the time, they are also struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs. You may also develop impulsive behaviour or addictive disorders because of your family history and genes.
We can safely conclude that people become problem gamblers because of a combination of social, hereditary, psychological, and biological factors.

Signs of Problem Gambling

How do you know that you or someone you know has become a problem gambler? You should stay alert for the following signs. The moment you notice the following signs in you or someone you love, you have to get the required help and support.

• You gamble away money you cannot afford to lose. In other words, you use funds saved for important things such as education, medical expenses, groceries, and others for gambling.

• You spend work or study hours on gambling. Instead of going to school/college or work, you log into your online casino or visit a land-based casino.

• You cannot stop playing. You keep chasing your losses in the hopes of winning.

• You have heated arguments about gambling and finances with friends and family members.

• You are no longer interested in regular life. You stop spending time on hobbies, going out with friends, or interacting with family members.

• There is only one thing you can think of—gambling.

• You try to hide your gambling activities from friends and family members.

• You try to solve your financial problems with gambling.

• After spending all your money on gambling, you steal, borrow, or sell your assets to fund your gambling activities.

• Paying your bills on time is no longer important.

• The need to bet larger amounts of money and play for longer sessions increases.

• You are no longer interested in studies, work, family, friends, or even your personal requirements.

• You get worried, guilty, nervous, irritable, and depressed.

How to Handle a Problem Gambler

Problem gamblers and gambling addicts are usually on the defensive. They refuse to accept that they have a problem. But the journey to recovery begins only when they realize and accept that they have developed certain problematic gambling behaviour patterns that are interfering with their life.

Usually, friends and family members are the first to notice signs of problem gambling. When they raise the subject, the problem gambler vehemently denies it and claims that he/she is in complete control over his/her gambling activities.

Taking up the responsibilities of helping a problem gambler is no easy task. You need to avoid being judgemental. Instead, you have to communicate with the person in an understanding and positive way. If you have a problem gambler in your life, talk to him/her using sentences that start with “I” instead of “you.”

Here are a few examples:

“I want you to understand that I love you very much, but I am worried that what you are doing isn’t good for you.”

“I’ve observed that you are not having a great time these days and I am worried about it. I am your friend and I want to help you.”

“I love you a lot and I am worried about you because your activities are risky and scary. Perhaps you know what I am talking about.”

When you use sentences that start with “I,” there are greater chances of the problem gambler opening up and accepting that he/she may have a problem. As far as possible, avoid confronting the problem gambler as it will make him/her withdraw into him/herself, making it very difficult for anyone to help him/her.

Once you use “I” sentences and get a person talking, listen to him/her without interrupting. Avoid getting emotionally involved and stay calm as long as your conversation with the problem gambler lasts.

Do not accept any explanation or apology for problem gambling, but stay calm and understand the issue. If you feel that a friend or family member has become a problem gambler, do not lend him/her any money as this could worsen the issue. Instead, gently guide the person to getting professional problem gambling help, counselling, and support.

Problem Gambling Support in NZ

The website of the Department of Internal Affairs provides valuable information about problem gambling in NZ. The page also lists support services for NZ problem gamblers.

Problem gamblers or friends and family members of problem gamblers can approach the following nationwide services for support:

Gambling Helpline – Call the number 0800-654-655 or SMS 8006. This service is available 24/7.

Salvation Army Oasis Centres – They provide public health and intervention services. Call them on the number 0800-53-00-00.

Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand – Contact them on the number 0800-664-262.

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