Online Gambling: The Multi-Billion Dollar Addiction
Online gambling addiction has been on the rise for over ten years now. However, internet gambling addiction is only a part of a growing nationwide problem. Gambling addiction occurs in many forms. It is estimated by the National Council on Problem Gambling that 2 million Americans alone suffer from severe gambling addiction, aka pathological gambling. Furthermore, an additional 4-6 million Americans are considered problem gamblers. Overall, 15 million people nationwide are affected by some type of gambling problem and a great deal of these problems include online gambling addictions. It is hard to gauge how many of these gambling problems are based on internet gambling addiction alone. However, it is still an increasing problem regardless of where the gambling is occurring.
Online gambling made it's debut in August 1995 and has now become the fastest growing industry on the internet today, which is likely why online gambling addiction is growing so rapidly. It is currently estimated that over 2,000 sites offer some type of online gambling. According to H2 Gambling Capital, 2008 brought in an astounding nationwide revenue of $21.0 billon. Online gambling comes in many forms ranging from betting on sports to casino-style gaming sites that offer live nationwide tournaments. Internet gambling attracts players for many different reasons. The mere fact that internet gambling is simply at the touch of ones fingertips is enough to draw in billions of players across the world, many of who will form online gambling addictions. Internet gambling offers flexibility, immediate access, 24-hour gaming, and real life interaction with other players- not to mention the possibility of striking it rich! Unfortunately, the probability of winning a decent amount of money is very slim. It is the online gambling sites that come out on top, no matter what! E-casinos and other internet gambling sites will never lose! It is those on the other end however, those who may form online gambling addictions, that consistently battle with the eternal want for that big win.
In today's economy many people are looking to make money any way that they can, the economy is down but internet gambling is up, why? Because people want the money, they want the win, they want to make their lives better and they end up getting caught up in a concept, reaching for the often unattainable dream and losing all sight of reality. It has been shown that those who make less than 10,000 a year are more likely to become compulsive gamblers than those who make over 50,000 a year. This goes to show that those who have less tend to want more and will often do anything they can to get it, this is the type of mentality that may lead to online gambling addiction. There is nothing wrong with wanting more but there is a problem when wanting more costs you everything that you now have. Most have good intent, seeking a better way of life but the online gambling addiction soon takes over and it is difficult to escape.
An online gambling addition can affect not only the lives of the ones gambling but the lives of those they love. Many online gambling addicts spend money that their families rely on to live and function, they may begin stealing and keeping secrets from those who mean the most to them. The internet gambling addiction slowly begins to control the world in which one lives, compulsive gamblers typically end up spending every last dime they have, pawning off personal valuables, maxing out credit cards and taking out loans, all in the hopes of making back what they have lost, waiting for that one big win. Few online gambling addicts will ask for help or seek gambling addiction treatment. Even worse, fear sadly takes over and they gamble even more, hoping to at least break even. The reality is that "the win", the one that going to change their lives forever, often does just that but not in the way it was planned. Instead of a change that brings hope, wealth, and happiness it is a change that brings, despair, desperation, and depression after realizing the situation they have gotten themselves into by forming an online gambling addiction.
Online gambling addition affects people of all races, gender, and age. However, the Gambling Commission states that most problem gamblers tend to be males between the age of 18 to 44. Many who suffer from compulsive online gambling addiction will not admit they even have a problem, some don't even acknowledge that a problem exists making it harder to get them to accept gambling addiction help or treatment for their online gambling problems. Unlike alcohol and drug addiction, the signs of internet gambling addiction are less visible. The questions below, provided by Gamblers Anonymous, could help you to decide if someone you care about may have an online gambling addiction.
Gamblers Anonymous offers the following questions to anyone who may have a gambling problem. These questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she is a compulsive gambler and wants to stop gambling.
1) Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
2) Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
3) Did gambling affect your reputation?
4) Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
5) Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
6) Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
7) After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
8) After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
9) Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
10) Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
11) Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
12) Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
13) Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
14) Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
15) Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
16) Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
17) Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
18) Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
19) Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling? 20) Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.
Many times compulsive gambling addiction can lead to thoughts of suicide. In fact one in every five pathological gamblers attempts suicide. If you feel that you or someone you love may have a severe problem seek gambling addiction help immediately before things get further out of hand. A great place to start is by contacting the National Council on Problem Gambling at 1-800-522-4700 they can provide you with the gambling addiction information that you will need. The NCPG can also suggest where to get gambling addiction treatment. Many steps can be taken to get a gamblers life back on track, they don't have to lose it all before they realize the destructive path that they are on. A simple intervention by a loved one is sometimes all that it takes to make them see the extent of their online gambling addiction and in turn accept the help that is being offered to them.
Other online gambling addiction related articles you may be interested in:
Underage Teens and Online Gambling: The New Generation of Addiction