Here we go again with another topic in our Real Truth series –
The Real Truth about Gambling
There is way too much to deliver in one article, so the plan is to present more next year on National Gambling Awareness Month (USA) March.
This presentation gives the reader an introduction to what gambling is and the different types of gambling with our usual delivery of stats and facts. In addition to this and the most important is HOW gambling affects us all. With our consistent commentary and questioning in the WHY and WHAT IF1 departments, there is much here on offer to ponder on…
The purpose of this blog and all others on this website is to simply bring awareness about much needed topics currently important to humanity.
Most of us may not know much about how huge the gambling industry is worldwide and why so many of us are gambling and the difficulties it can bring to our health and well-being and those close to us.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is the practice or act of playing games of chance for a stake. In most cases, the stake is money. However, if the gambler has run out of money, the stake could include any possession. It is the noun of the verb to gamble. The term means the same as betting or wagering.
Gamblers bet on something that results either in a gain for them, or a loss.
The term includes all kinds of betting, gaming and participating in lotteries.
In countries that allow betting, only people over the age of 18 can participate. (1)
Oxford English Dictionaries (Lexico)
1. Play games of chance for money; bet.
2. Take risky action in the hope of a desired result. (2)
Worth noting that whilst money is the currency, a gambler may opt for the stake to be a possession, if they run out of money.
The dictionary could be interpreted above as – we are aware there is a risk with gambling but we have a picture, an image, an ideal or a desire for a particular thing to happen, which we call hope.
The result we want may never happen, but we take the ‘chance’ and play games with money as the currency of exchange.
It is worth noting at the start here that the meaning of wagering and betting are one and the same for the purposes of this article.
Safer Gambling Week 19 – 25 November 2020
A campaign led by the gambling industry that aims to create a conversation with customers, staff and the wider public about safer gambling.
The entire UK and Irish Gambling Industry – amusement arcades, bingo clubs, bookmakers, casinos and online have come together to support Safer Gambling Week. (3)
What is Safer Gambling?
Gambling is a form of entertainment that you pay for and this means you are handing over money for something which should be fun and will last for a finite length of time.
The difference between gambling and any other form of entertainment is that you are playing games of chance for money. This could mean you walk away with more money than you started with or some other kind of prize.
However, if you start that as a goal you are likely to be disappointed time and again.
If you were assured of a prize every time, you would not be gambling as this would be simply purchasing a product or service.
Chance is what makes gambling fun, but it is also what makes it a risk.
Responsible gambling is about being able to gamble without putting yourself or others at risk of harm. Part of gambling more safely and responsibly is understanding the odds of the game you are playing, what the rules are and accepting that losing is just as much a part of gambling as winning.
Gambling is a regulated activity and the reason for this is because
No form of gambling is risk free.
If gambling was risk free, it would not be called Gambling. (4)
If you gamble you should expect to lose. Gambling should be budgeted as an expense, just like going out for dinner and not considered a way to make money. (5)
We could start the commentary on this section with the first sentence – Gambling is a form of entertainment that you pay for…which should be fun and will last for a finite length of time.
Next – let us explore the entertainment factor.
What is the purpose of entertainment and where does it get us in our life?
What is it about us that needs entertainment and where do we draw the line?
Are we wired to hand over money for fun and know when time is up and walk away OR do we get caught up in the stimulation of the whole hype of winning and losing OR are we the type that likes to win at any cost and we will do what it takes?
Is gambling something we love because of the money factor, as there is a chance that we could make more than we started off with?
Do we get into gambling totally blind, wanting a bit of fun as we hear and see others doing it?
Where did we get the association of gambling and fun like it is a recipe?
Have we asked those who know someone who is addicted to gambling?
How do we take real Responsibility when it comes to gambling?
How do we ensure that we are not putting ourselves or others at risk of harm?
Where are we getting our definition and meaning for the word harm?
Let us explore this one word – Harm
The first thing we can establish is that our world does not agree on words.
Each dictionary has a different definition and we as a world do not have a one-unified truth when it comes to words.
On that note, we will not be quoting and referencing anything for the purposes of this article.
However, we will ask common sense and see what unfolds with that form of wisdom…
Common sense says harm is anything that does not have a true meaning or purpose and therefore affects the human frame and as we are all inter-connected, it affects us ALL.
In other words, it is a form of abuse. The End.
Back to gambling and we are told that we can gamble more safely and responsibly by understanding the odds of the game being played, what the rules are and accepting that losing is just as much a part of gambling as winning.
Can we for one moment stop and put on our honesty hat?
How many of us are even interested to check out the odds, let alone find out the rules and accept that losing is ok?
Are we not gambling because we have our agenda and if it was all about losing, we would have the common sense to not go there in the first place, but the fact is we do and that is WHY there is a purpose in presenting a blog like this for our world to reflect on and consider the Questions.
Next – No form of gambling is risk free
Do we understand what that actually means and do we get that if it was risk free, then we cannot call it gambling?
This means we are set up – let us call this a game and there are things we need to know as players. We need to budget gambling as an expense.
What if2 our budget has no float, leftovers, extras at the end of payday every month?
What if we want gambling to give us something (more money) because our budget is so small and we seek change like a quick fix?
What if our tight budget means things have to wait as we plan to gamble some of our money which is set aside for bills and other essential living expenses?
What if we have Family members to account for when it comes to our budget but we conveniently forget that when the chance to win money is on the menu?
What if our head wants to make gambling an expense but our heart knows and we feel the tension this is creating?
Types of Gambling
Two types of categories for Gambling Games:
Chance Based – 100% dependent on chance
Skill Based – players have some influence but chance remains a factor in the outcome.
Note – chance plays a greater role in chance-based games, it is a powerful factor in skill-based games.
In all forms of legitimate gambling, game outcomes can never be predicted with 100% certainty and 100% time.
Chance Based Gambling
- Slot machines
- Progressive bonuses
- Sic Bo
Skilled Based Gambling
In skill-based gambling, players can use betting strategies and techniques based on related knowledge or other players’ decisions and behaviour.
- Black Jack
- Pai Gow
- Texas Shoot Out
- Mexico Shoot Out
- Horse Race Betting
- Sports Betting (6)
$10 Trillion – amount the world gambles annually
Lotteries are the leading form of gambling worldwide (7)
Have we got any idea how much ten trillion dollars actually is? $10,000,000,000,000
There are 1,000 millions in a billion and there are 1,000 billions in a trillion
We as a world are using $10 trillion dollars to gamble every year. That is a lot of money and it would be wise to consider if our world was a real Business, would it allow for this amount of money to go into gambling, when we all know that our current healthcare systems are facing bankruptcy because the state of our health is far from great.
Have we bothered to stop and ask WHY on earth lotteries are the leading form of gambling worldwide or do we already know the answer?
How many of us are honest enough to Question WHY we do what we do and HOW it affects us and those around us?
Are lotteries offering us that chance in a lifetime to get out of our miserable life that we have created?
Are lotteries offering us the fantasy dreams and wishes of never having to work again and live a life of so-called luxury because we have the money to do so?
Are our lotteries not seen as a form of gambling and just something we do for fun as we like to jump on the bandwagon with the masses, who are doing the same?
Are lotteries making us go off track when it comes to real life responsibilities which we hate as its way too much working, paying bills and just living life these days?
Are lotteries the ticket, the passport, the ‘get me out of this life’ card, as we do not like any part of the life that we currently have and winning would mean the end of that and the start of how those bigwigs and celebs live?
Are any of the above reasons WHY we subscribe to the lotteries and WHY we –
yes ALL of us are subscribing in some form to this multi trillion dollar game?
During the late 20th century, state licensed or state operated lotteries expanded rapidly in the United States and Europe and are widely distributed throughout most of the world. Organised soccer pools can be found in nearly all European countries. Most of these countries also offer either state organised or state-licensed wagering on other sporting events.
Betting on horse racing is a leading form of gambling in English speaking countries and in France. It also exists in many countries. Wherever horse racing is popular, it has usually become a major business, with its own newspapers and other periodicals, extensive statistical services, self-styled experts who sell advice on how to bet and sophisticated communication networks that furnish information to betting centres, bookmakers and their employees and workers involved with the care and breeding of horses. This is also the same for dog racing albeit at a smaller extent. The emergence of satellite broadcasting technology has led to the creation of so-called off-track betting facilities, in which bettors watch live telecasts at locations away from the racetrack.
Casinos or gambling houses have existed at least since the 17th century. (7)
The History of Gambling will be presented in Part 2 –
The Real Truth about Gambling in March 2021
In Europe and South America casino or gambling houses are permitted at most holiday resorts but not always in cities. Casinos in the United States were for many years legal only in Nevada and New Jersey and by special license in Puerto Rico but most other states now allow casino gambling and betting facilities to operate clandestinely throughout the country, often through corruption of political authorities.
Roulette is one of the principal gambling games in casinos throughout France and Monaco and is popular throughout the world. Craps is the principal dice game at most American casinos. Slot and video poker machines are mainstay of casinos in the United States and Europe and are also found in thousands of private clubs, restaurants and other establishments; they are also common in Australia. Among the card games played at casinos, baccarat, in its popular form chemin de fer, has remained a principal gambling game in Great Britain and in the continental casinos. Blackjack is the principal card game in American casinos. The French card game trente et quarante (or rouge et noir) is played at Monte-Carlo and a few other continental casinos. Many other games may also be found in some casinos for example sic bo, fan-tan and pai-gow poker in Asia and local games such as boule, banca francesa and kalooki in Europe.
In a wide sense of the word, stock markets may also be considered a form of gambling, albeit one in which skill and knowledge on the part of the bettors play a considerable part. This also goes for insurance; paying the premium on one’s life insurance is, in effect, a bet that one will die within a specified time. If one wins (dies), the win is paid out to one’s relatives and if one loses (survives the specified time), the wager (premium) is kept by the insurance company, which acts as a bookmaker and sets the odd (payout ratios) according to actuarial data.
These two forms of gambling are considered beneficial to society. (7)
Have any of us considered taking out an insurance policy and paying a premium to be a form of gambling as stated above?
We bet that the person we insure will die and that is the so-called ‘win’ which means money is paid out to the relative, the person who made the ‘bet’. The risk is that the person may not die in the specified time that we bet they would and then we lose and the insurance company says ‘thank you very much once again, as we just made a profit from your gambling’.
As we all know as it is common knowledge, insurance companies make vast profits and they are a business that provides their shareholders with the dividends they expect from their investments.
Gambling Market Characteristics
The gambling market consists of sales of gambling services and related goods by entities that operate gambling facilities, such as casinos, bingo halls, video gaming terminals, lotteries and off-track sports betting.
Bingo parlours, coin-operated gambling device concession operators, bookmakers, lottery ticket sales agents and card rooms are also included in this market. The gambling market also includes sales of gambling services and related goods by entities that operate casino hotels.
Gambling Market Drivers
The key drivers of the gambling market include:
Rise in Mobile Gambling
Rise in Mobile Gambling positively impacted the growth of the market. Mobile is predominant part of lifestyle and most games which feature online casinos can be easily downloaded via an app on smartphones and the players can get an enhanced gaming experience.
Mobile gambling is fast, convenient and provides easy access to the games.
50% adult population in UK have mobile gambled at least once (8)
Listen up world, this is serious and well worth taking note of.
We have a small country known as the UK with a population of around 66 million and half of the adults there have gambled on their mobile phone.
If we were on the board of health and well-being for this country, how would we want to address this one single statistic?
What type of Questions would we be asking knowing we have half the adult population using their mobile phones to gamble, be it once or more?
Would we need to ask what is driving this mobile gambling?
In other words what is missing in one’s life, what is the gap, the void, so to speak that needs to be filled with entertainment that is fast and easy to access, but comes with a price?
What is this ‘gaming experience’ doing to the human frame and how does it support our true health and well-being?
As directors of this board, we have a duty and responsibility to inform the policymakers, so that change takes place and we need to get on the front foot. So how on earth are we going to do that with our director hat on at the next AGM?
What if we all started behaving like we were board members for the health and well-being of our country?
What changes would we make and what type of Questions would we ask?
Gambling Market Restraints
The key restraints on the gambling market include:
Tax on Casinos
Casinos around the world are subject to country-specific value added tax (VAT) and sales taxes.
Highest gambling tax rates in 2018 registered in
High tax rates pushed gambling organisers to raise prices, which led to a decline in new investments. (8)
$565 Billion – Global Gambling Market to reach by 2022
The gambling market is segmented by type into casino, lotteries, sports betting and others.
46.1% – lotteries are the largest segment of the gambling market
The sports betting segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment.
94.3% – offline gambling was the largest segment of the casino market 2018
Virtual reality gambling expected to be fastest growing segment going forward
65.7% – offline gambling was the largest segment of the sports betting market
Virtual reality gambling expected to be fastest growing segment going forward
96.2% – offline gambling was the largest segment of the lotteries market 2018
Virtual Reality gambling expected to be fastest growing segment going forward
32.7% – Asia-Pacific largest market of the global market for gambling
Africa and Asia-Pacific will be fastest growing regions in the gambling market
$511.3 billion – Global Amusements market in 2018
87.9% – Gambling market largest segment of the amusements market 2018
$48.1 billion global market sales will arise in offline lotteries segment by 2022
$23 billion – China will gain the most market size
Market trend based strategies for the gambling market include:
- Adoption of advanced security measures for online gambling
- Investments in mobile gambling
- Investments in branded slot games
- Gambling apps for smart watches
- Use of large format slot machines
- Big data analytics
Player adopted strategies in the gambling industry include:
- Introducing new lottery products
- Providing easy mode of payment
- Expanding into emerging countries (9)
Do any of us really sit and study these statistics or are they just numbers on a page or Screen that look a bit complicated?
We may look at this section above and see it as a wake up call or we may ignore the whole thing and move on.
The fact is these figures are telling us something about our human behaviour be it online or offline.
$511.3 billion dollars is our global amusements market and that was 2 years ago and we could bet (pun intended) that this figure is higher now.
This means we like being entertained because we spend a lot of money on this lifestyle choice in the name of having fun.
Have we ever asked how does our body respond with our money going on this type of pleasure?
It is worth noting that almost 90% of the amusement market is the gambling segment, which in itself speaks volumes.
We can also note that gambling is a global trend and not just limited to certain countries.
And finally, we the customers, make the demand and the gambling industry supply. This includes their strategies and looking at the list above we could agree they are on the front foot. They have thought about mobile gambling, apps on our watches, advanced security measures when we do online gambling, new products and easy ways to pay. Bingo they have it all sewn up and our every need is covered.
However, we the punters are no where on the front foot. We are too busy trying to entertain ourselves and without realising, many of us are getting hooked into it and before we know it we have a serious problem that remains hidden from our world.
The truth is and we all know it, those statistics are not accurate or reflecting the real figures, because so many of us do not report our gambling problems or even admit to anyone that we are a secret gambler leading a Double Life.
We are all quick to blame the industry making big profits, but who made them rich in the first place?
Answer: It is us the customers.
One of the most significant changes to the gambling environment in the past 15 years has been the increased availability of Internet gambling including mobile.
Internet gambling is the fastest growing mode of gambling and is changing the way that gamblers engage with this activity.
Due to the high level of accessibility, immersive interface and ease at which money can be spent, there are concerns that Internet gambling can increase rates of disordered gambling.
Internet gambling, a term used largely interchangeable with interactive remote and online gambling refers to the range of wagering and gaming activities offered through Internet-enabled devices, including computers, mobile and smart phones, tablets and digital television.
This mode of gambling, facilitated by technological advances, increased Internet availability and ownership of Internet-enabled devices is not a separate type of gambling activity. It is a mode of access that is distinct from gambling in person at terrestrial or land based retail outlets and placing wagers over the telephone.
It is a largely automated activity that could be conducted in private at any time and location, using high speed Internet connections enabling rapid placement of bets and notification of outcomes. The ability for large wagers, continuous gambling, rapid feedback and instant, easy access to a vast number of betting options has resulted in concerns that Internet gambling could contribute to excessive gambling. (10)
The Internet is the fastest growing mode of gambling and one reason is the ease at which money can be spent.
What is our relationship with money?
How responsible are we really with money?
Does our gambling behaviour tell a story about us and our money life?
Do we like to gamble, as this is just something we do because we are Bored with life or need a break from our daily life?
Do we gamble online because we like the thrill and stimulation we feel that comes with this form of entertainment?
Do we consistently wear our online “Because We Can” hat on and that means we do what we want and never consider the consequences?
Do we gamble online and have a habit of doing Online Shopping and we seem to have no off switch?
Do we like the fact that we can go online wherever we want in private and use the high speed connections to place those bets and receive an instant notification of what took place – the outcome.
Do we sense that this lifestyle choice maybe feeding a need inside us and we do not want to address or dig deep and ask the WHY Questions?
Do we think we have a hold on this gambling stuff and we are the ones in control when deep down we know we are not?
Do we just want that one win that we have been waiting for so that we can hang up our boots and move on and be sensible with our money?
Do we find ourselves hiding and ducking and diving as this Vice we have with online gambling is not something we want the world to know about?
Do we have gambling online as one of our Secrets and even those that are close have no idea what we get up to?
Do we behave like we are taking illicit Drugs when we are gambling as it seems to have similar traits?
As a result of the empirical comparisons demonstrating the fundamental parallels between gambling problems and substance use, the DSM-5 – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition includes a new category of Non-Substance Behavioural Addiction within the substance addictions category. Disordered gambling is classified as the first behavioral addiction and will serve as a ‘blueprint’ for research on other syndromes and arguably set a precedent for the compilation of evidence on other similarly excessive behaviors such as ‘Internet Gaming Disorder’ (currently in section 3 of the DSM-5).
Mounting evidence of distress and dysfunction related to excessive and problematic Internet use and specifically Internet gaming led the DSM-5 Taskforce to officially call for further research on this behavior.
Given the similarities in the experience and excessive use of Internet gambling and gaming and the potential for harm based on excessive Internet use, problem use of Internet gambling also warrants specific consideration.
Internet Gambling is growing rapidly in terms of popularity, market share and products offered.
Research suggests that the most commonly reported motivators and advantages of Internet gambling are the convenience and accessibility of this mode. Other commonly stated advantages of Internet gambling include:
- the speed and ease of online gambling
- greater number of betting products and options
- the physical comfort of being able to gamble from home
- greater value for money, including payout rates and bonuses
Internet gambling represents a fundamental shift in how consumers engage in gambling and concerns have been expressed by various stakeholders about these changes. Disadvantages cited by Internet gamblers include that it is easier to spend money online, it is too convenient and concerns about account safety.
Other concerns include that the high accessibility to Internet gambling may increase gambling, particularly among the technology savvy youth and lead to an increase in the incidence and prevalence of disordered gambling. These concerns have led to recommendations for Internet gambling to be prohibited or conversely regulated in an attempt to institute policies to minimise harms. (10)
Did we read that above or miss it because it is not interesting?
Well here it is again because it is super important to take note.
Mounting evidence of distress and dysfunction related to excessive and problematic Internet use and specifically Internet gaming has led the DSM-5 taskforce to officially call for further research on this behaviour.
Let’s break this down so we all get it – we have mounting evidence already and this alone is telling us that we have serious problems, let us call that distress and dysfunction.
This means we are not able to just function in daily life and we are anxious or in some kind of pain. These bigwigs that are known as the taskforce, the ones who will set the marker for Mental Health1 in this big book called DSM 5th edition want to do more research.
Research and more research is the way our world has operated for a very long time and we have relied on it to run our lives. We somehow forget that the evidence is in our own homes, in our streets and in our neighbourhoods, towns, cities and countries, as they tell us exactly what we need in that moment because we can sense and feel, but instead we wait for an academic paper, call it a research study to tell us what we already know but choose to ignore.
Let us put that into a practical example – we have someone close to us hooked into the Internet and we can feel they are spending way too many hours and it is like a Drug and they seem entrenched in their behaviour.
At this point do we say ‘Something Is Not Right’ or do we say ‘what research study is going to happen, so that I can have the proof of what is happening right under my very nose’?
We could apply the same for a neighbour, friend, relative or work colleague who is hooked into online gambling, gaming, shopping or porn sites.
The point is researchers, our scientists are consistently saying their famous words “we need more research, further research, more studies and they just finished the one they are telling us about.
WHY WHY is this always happening?
Well the obvious could possibly be that without the next study they could be out of a job?
Their work is about a continuum of researching and of course we need that to advance some might say.
Of course we could all become researchers collectively as we see it all happening in front of our very eyes, but we know scientists would be up in arms if we took over their jobs. Let us not forget that each of us are a living science and that is something that cannot be negated.
We ought to take extra note here Dear World that the masses and that means the majority of us are insisting that we need science to test and test and prove the evidence before we will listen and take on board what is for some the very clear and obvious. Then while we wait another few decades, new research tells us that old stuff was not it and this is now it and so it goes on and on. Meanwhile we now have a world plague that is going on under the radar like gambling addiction.
Is it time we wake up and unite as a world and see things for what they really are or are we just comfortable with the rot that we are creating, seeing the endless suffering and the end result of our Lifestyle Choices.
Back to the mounting evidence – WHY is this not enough?
WHY does it have to be an official call for further research?
Yes let’s continue with research but do we need to change our movements now and consider if there is Another Way?
A digression, but a great example –
We have thousands of studies about smoking Tobacco1 and it’s been going on for a hundred years and more…
WHY on earth would we then continue to have more and more studies?
Do we honestly think that one day in the future we will wake up and be told smoking is ok and not that bad and for those who want to puff away it’s ok because we just got some new research studies telling us that?
Sounds pretty silly and non-sensical – yes?
Well that is what we are doing.
We keep looking everywhere but not ever pointing to the obvious, the stuff some of us would call “common sense”.
Common sense is like an innate wisdom that just makes sense because it cuts through the heady clever mental stuff, says it as it is and above all it is Simple and never Complicated, so we All just get it. No one is left out.
What if we asked for Independent research and that means public money being wisely spent for the people and on behalf of the people?
That way we have no funding from those who may stand to gain or profit in any way whatsoever.
What if we made that the new standard going forward?
World Policymakers of the future – please take note.
What if3 researchers worked together and that means united as a world so we can have more resources and not divide ourselves because of cross-cultural differences or anything else that is irrelevant because the common-ness is – we are all humans? Simple.
Internet gambling is growing rapidly?
So WHY not stop and ask how come?
What is going on in our daily lives that gives rise to this?
A reminder again, the market growth and the industry profits come from us – the consumers, the customers, the punters, the addicts or whatever we want to name ourselves here.
WHY not get super Honest and Real and expose the very fact that we like the distraction, the entertainment factor and the Internet gives it all to us in the comfort of our own home, whilst travelling or practically anywhere and that convenience, speed and access suits our lifestyle?
Something that would be wise to consider at this point is we seem to get bored very quickly. Our mind likes the buzz, the chemical changes in the brain and we need more to keep the stimulation going. More more more is the name of the game and no surprise then that the Internet suppliers are on the front foot and coming up with a ‘greater number of betting products and options’ as stated above.
Next we have Internet gamblers telling us that it is easier to spend money online and online gambling is convenient.
Can we agree that this sentence alone is spelling out to us that a gambler online is finding it easy and convenient to spend money and that means it is not going to stop because the very nature of the whole ‘set-up’ is there will never be a winner?
WHY are we not paying attention when gamblers are telling us this?
WHY on earth would we need a researcher who is not the living science, the real tangible evidence that the person, the gambler is?
In other words, we have the proof and there are millions of gamblers online and offline and it is high time we listened to them and of course observed their movements as this will give us an insight into their behaviours.
Internet Gambling and Problem Gambling
Features of Internet Gambling that may Impact Problem Severity
Evidence suggests that there is a complex relationship between the availability of gambling opportunities and increased levels of related problems.
The easy access to gambling provided by Internet modes may lead to the development or exacerbation of gambling problems.
Internet gambling also has unique features that may pose additional risks for harm, particularly for vulnerable populations.
Internet gambling differs from land based gambling primarily in terms of constant availability, easy access and ability to bet for uninterrupted periods in private, facilitated by the interactive and immersive Internet environment.
The use of digital forms of money – credit cards, electronic bank transfers and e-wallets appears to lead to increased gambling and losses, particularly for problem gamblers as people feel that they are not spending ‘real’ money.
19 – 28% online gamblers report it is easier to spend more money online.
15% consider this form to be more addictive than land based gambling.
The immersive nature of Internet gambling reports online gamblers, particularly those experiencing problems are more likely to report disruption to their Sleep and eating patterns than land-based gamblers.
Online problem gamblers are significantly less likely to have sought formal help compared to land-based problem gamblers. This suggests that problems related to Internet gambling may be under-represented in treatment-seeking samples and are likely to increase over time as more people participate in this mode and problem severity increases.
Physical and Mental Health Comorbidities
Studies found higher rates of health and mental health comorbidities, including Smoking and Alcohol consumption, as well as substance abuse or dependence and mood disorders among Internet as compared to non-Internet gamblers.
A study found Internet gambling frequency was significantly associated with poor physical and Mental Health2 after controlling for demographics and problem gambling but overall gambling frequency was not.
Problem gamblers were more likely to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol while gambling online. This is consistent with higher rates of substance use disorders and self-harm among highly involved Internet gamblers.
Illicit Drug use was a significant predictor of having greater levels of gambling problems according to an Australian survey. These results indicate that Internet gamblers who are at risk for gambling problems may engage in a range of risk-taking behaviors for example, due to high levels of impulsivity.
We have evidence that there is a complex relationship with Internet gambling and the increased levels of problems this creates.
Do we really need to say more or is this presentation needed to give us another perspective about the same thing but expressed in a different way?
The fact we can be online for hours on end, un-interrupted in private is a gateway for increased gambling, which in turn means more problems. Gamblers will not have a reality check if they are in an artificial environment not engaging with real life and using digital forms of money, because they feel they are not spending ‘real’ money.
This is serious and so it can be of no surprise that online gamblers inform us that it is easier to spend more money online. We could ask online shoppers who have an addiction to shopping online and they would tell us the same. Read our blog on this website called Online Shopping.
Add to this easy access to online gambling, we have reports that Sleep and Eating patterns are disrupted. This again confirms SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT but what do we do and not do and how easy are words if no real action is taking place?
In other words, a problem gambler may want to stop or slow down but it is like a runaway train, they just can’t stop and the momentum is set, so no amount of telling them will change the movements they have for online gambling.
Another important factor is online gamblers are significantly less likely to seek formal help – could this be because they genuinely do not have the awareness that there is a problem in the first place, or that they see online as a bit of fun and not like betting shops and real gambling.
What we do all know is that more and more people will be participating in this mode as it says above. This increase may be higher than expected as our world is currently in a pandemic with lockdown, stay at home restrictions for many.
We are told to stay indoors incase we catch this virus, so what is our first go to self-medication? Let’s get real and let’s get super Honest…
Early night or go on the Internet?
It is a no brainer some may say as opting for the latter is what most of us would do.
Internet gamblers had higher rates of health and mental health comorbidities, including smoking and alcohol consumption or substance abuse or dependence.
For the record – comorbidity means the simultaneous presence of 2 chronic diseases or conditions.
This is serious – not one but two constantly recurring diseases or conditions.
This is what our problem gamblers are experiencing, but we do not have a single study suggesting or spelling out to us what is the root cause. In other words when, where, how and why does anyone become an online problem gambler?
What if there are many other factors that need to be considered as to WHY anyone becomes a problem gambler online?
What if our lack of policing and proper regulations online and leaving it to us to be “responsible” are why we have the problems, because we are totally irresponsible?
What if the altered state we choose to align to when we smoke and drink alcohol, is the same vibration that gets us gambling online?
What if illicit drugs are illegal for a reason and so there is no surprise that a study tells us it is a significant predictor of having greater levels of gambling problems?
What if we keep our researchers busy and make them find out WHY does anyone develop high levels of impulsivity which leads to risk taking behaviours?
What if our current way of research needs a radical shift and a total transparency, so it becomes all about the people – nothing more and nothing less?
In other words, all research must be independent, not biased in any form whatsoever and Simple so the general public have access regardless of their academic qualifications. Research that is available for ALL to access equally. This means no funding from organisations that stand to benefit in any way. No leniency in the results, making qualitative research mainstream and having the same and equal value as all other forms of research.
Hello World – how would that be if we got that going?
Intense gambling involvement has been verified as a predictor of gambling problems for online and offline gamblers. Other gambling-related behaviours have also been identified as being potential markers of risky Internet gambling.
Gambling online on un-regulated sites and using multiple different accounts and different online activities have been found to be predictive of higher levels of gambling problems. It is possible that un-regulated sites attract individuals who are at greater risk for experiencing problems and use of multiple online accounts and multiple activities is a proxy indicator of gambling involvement, a known predictor of harm.
Potential predictors of risky Internet gambling or emergence of problems include:
- engaging in multiple online gambling activities
- high variability in betting
- multiple bets per day
- many active betting days per month
- many bets per betting day
- high overall stakes and net loss
- increasing bet size and losses
- chasing losses
- intervals of increasing wagering size, followed by rapid drops
One notable study is the consistent finding that participation in live action Sports betting (also known as in-play) is an independent predictor of problem gambling severity, when controlling for gambling involvement.
This type of betting allows frequent and repeated bets to be placed during a single sporting event, with rapidly determined outcomes, which may be particularly attractive to people who are highly impulsive and at greater risk for disordered gambling. (10)
What if we had a list that said
Potential predictors of NO Internet gambling or other online entertainment:
- Consistent vitality levels
- Quality Sleep daily
- No artificial stimulation needed
- Responsibility as the key focus
- Steady and stable mood
- Zero need for online distractions
- Ability to connect to the body
- Same life no hidden agenda
Next – we find out what group of people live like this and make them our focus, track them and observe what they get up to in private with the doors shut, at work, in the supermarket and everywhere in every moment.
We then make this the new research and instead of another Solution, we have walking talking living sciences (people) that reflect it is possible to not be exhausted, have real relationships, Express in full what they know and feel, not hold back, not make out they are better than others and that they just GET ON WITH IT.
Among us are people who have answers and know what is and what is not the true way of living and yet they are dismissed, never make it to national news or government posts that would quantify real change. Instead, they write books or blogs like this and keep on going with no off switch in the knowing that it is making a difference even if the world cannot see the tangible results as yet.
$92.9 Billion Global Online Gambling Market by 2023
Forecast is the industry will double in the upcoming years
The Growth of Online Gambling
Online gambling consists of playing casino games, poker and or Sports betting via the Internet. Due to factors such as the advancement of technology available like apps and smartphones, higher trust of gamblers paying online and the increasing digitisation of the world, the online gambling market is seeing growth in many regions. (11)
The spread of COVID 19 has accelerated the demand for online gambling.
EGDs – Electronic Gambling Devices are inexpensive to run and easily available.
These devices have an in-built software that mimics the experience of a local casino. For example – a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) uses advancing technology and can be customised to electronic slot machines, spinning reel slot machines, video slot machines and electronic poker games. (12)
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack or cheat the system.
A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger. The decentralised database managed by multiple participants is known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
Blockchain is a type of DLT in which transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature called a hash.
This means if one block in one chain was changed, it would be immediately apparent it had been tampered with. If hackers wanted to corrupt a blockchain system, they would have to change every block in the chain, across all of the distributed versions of the chains. (13)
Blockchain is the technology that underpins the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. (14)
Blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are constantly and continually growing as blocks are being added to the chain, which significantly adds to the security of the ledger. (13)
Technologies such as Blockchain, IoT and VR are changing everything in every field including even how one can gamble in an online casino. Virtual Reality and VR Headsets have gained a lot of popularity in recent years and are a revolutionary addition to the world of online gambling. With VR, one can actually enter into a virtual casino and play all the games without having to travel. However, fraud and cheating were majorly concerning the users in online gambling. A lot of online casinos and online gambling sites have been accused of not being transparent and hiding their internal workings and the methods for their dealings. These concerns can be addressed using blockchain technology. With blockchain technology, everyone will be able to see exactly what is going on behind the scenes. This will help in preventing fraud and greatly increase the trust people have with these online gambling sites. These technologies, therefore have the biggest impact on the online gambling market. (15)
Gambling Market Trends
Major trends influencing the gambling market include:
Security in Online Gambling
Online gambling services providers are increasingly focusing on security to prevent fraud and in-game abuse and provide enhanced customer experience. They are employing multifactor authentication technologies such as device fingerprinting solutions, PINs (personal identification numbers), biometric sensors and trusted Bluetooth devices. These technologies provide online gambling sites with unique insights into user account creation for fraud analysis.
They also eliminate the need for storing and processing personal information of the users, providing a high level of security.
Cryptocurrency in Gambling
Cryptocurrency is becoming popular in online gambling with the industry incorporating it as one of the payment methods. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency with encryption techniques that regulate the generation of units of currency. This blockchain technology provides anonymity of the users. In addition, gambling legislations do not apply to the online casinos that offer betting only with cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency transactions are very cheap or completely free and as there are no taxes levied on the transactions, it benefits the players with better odds and bigger payouts, driving online casinos to opt for cryptocurrency as a mode of payment. (8)
Gambling disorder involves repeated problematic gambling behaviour that causes significant problems or distress. It is also called gambling addiction or compulsive gambling. (16)
In the 1980s, while updating the DSM – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association officially classified pathological (problem) gambling as an impulse-control disorder. In what has come to be regarded as a landmark decision, the association moved pathological gambling to the addictions chapter in the DSM-5, published in May 2013. The decision, which followed 15 years of deliberation, reflects a new understanding of the biology underlying addiction and has already changed the way psychiatrists help people who cannot stop gambling.
The American Psychiatric Association based its decision on numerous recent studies in psychology, neuroscience and genetics demonstrating that gambling and drug addiction are far more similar than previously realised. (17)
Hello World – we need to wake up right now
We got the American Psychiatric Association telling us that gambling and drug addiction are far more similar than previously realised.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the handbook used by health care professionals in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders. DSM contains descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders.
It provides a common language for clinicians to communicate about their patients and establishes consistent and reliable diagnoses that can be used in the research of mental disorders. It also provides a common language for researchers to study the criteria for potential future revisions and to aid in the development of medications and other interventions.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) spent $20 – $25 million on the extensive process of developing DSM-5. (18)
Gambling Disorder 312.31(F63.0)
A. Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behaviour leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the following in a 12 month period:
1. Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
2. Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
3. Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling.
4. Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
5. Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
6. After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
7. Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
8. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
9. Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.
B. The gambling behavior is not better explained by a manic episode.
Episodic: Meeting diagnostic criteria at more than one time point, with symptoms subsiding between periods of gambling disorder for at least several months.
Persistent: Experiencing continuous symptoms, to meet diagnostic criteria for multiple years.
In early remission: After full criteria for gambling disorder were previously met, none of the criteria from gambling disorder have been met for at least 3 months but for less than 12 months.
In sustained remission: After full criteria for gambling disorder were previously met, none of the criteria for gambling disorder have been met during a period of 12 months or longer.
Specifiy current severity:
Mild: 4 – 5 criteria met
Moderate: 6 – 7 criteria met
Severe: 8 – 9 criteria met
Note: Although some behaviorial conditions that do not involve ingestion of substances have similarities to substance-related disorders, only one disorder – gambling disorder has sufficient data to be included in this section.
Severity is based on the number of criteria endorsed. Individuals with mild gambling disorder may exhibit only 4-5 of the criteria, with the most frequently endorsed criteria usually related to pre-occupation with gambling and “chasing” losses. Individuals with moderately severe gambling disorder exhibit more of the criteria (i.e., 6-7). Individuals with the most severe form will exhibit all or most of the nine criteria (i.e., 8-9). Jeopardising relationships or career opportunities due to gambling and relying on others to provide money for gambling losses are typically the least often endorsed criteria and most often occur among those with more severe gambling disorder. Furthermore, individuals presenting for treatment of gambling disorder typically have moderate to severe forms of the disorder.
Gambling involves risking something of value in the hopes of obtaining something of greater value. In many cultures, individuals gamble on games and events and most do so without experiencing problems. However, some individuals develop substantial impairment related to their gambling behaviors. The essential feature of gambling disorder is persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling behavior that disrupts personal, family, and/or vocational pursuits (Criterion A). Gambling disorder is defined as a cluster of four or more of the symptoms listed in Criterion A occurring at any time in the same 12 month period.
A pattern of “chasing one’s losses” may develop, with an urgent need to keep gambling (often with the placing of larger bets or the taking of greater risks) to undo a loss or series of losses. The individual may abandon his or her gambling strategy and try to win back losses all at once. Although many gamblers may “chase” for short periods of time, it is the frequent and often long-term “chase” that is characteristic of gambling disorder (Criterion A6). Individuals may lie to family members, therapists or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling; these instances of deceit may also include but are not limited to, covering up illegal behaviors such as forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement to obtain money with which to gamble (Criterion A7). Individuals may also engage in “bailout” behavior, turning to family or others for help with a desperate financial situation that was caused by gambling (Criterion A9).
Associated Features Supporting Diagnosis
Distortions in thinking (e.g., denial superstitions, a sense of power and control over the outcome of chance events, overconfidence) may be present in individuals with gambling disorder. Many individuals with gambling disorder believe that money is both the cause of and the solution to their problems. Some individuals with gambling disorder are impulsive, competitive, energetic, restless and easily bored; they may be overly concerned with the approval of others and may be generous to the point of extravagance when winning. Other individuals with gambling disorder are Depressed and Lonely and they may gamble when feeling helpless, guilty or Depressed. Up to half of individuals in treatment for gambling disorder have suicidal ideation and about 17% have attempted Suicide.
Development and Course
The onset of gambling disorder can occur during adolescence or young adulthood but in other individuals it manifests during middle or even older adulthood. Generally, gambling disorder develops over the course of years, although the progression appears to be more rapid in females than in males. Most individuals who develop a gambling disorder evidence a pattern of gambling that gradually increases in both frequency and amount of wagering. Certainly, milder forms can develop into more severe cases. Most individuals with gambling disorder report that one or two types of gambling are most problematic for them, although some individuals participate in many forms of gambling. Individuals are likely to engage in certain types of gambling (e.g., buying scratch tickets daily) more frequently than others (e.g., playing slot machines or blackjack at the casino weekly). Frequency of gambling can be related more to the type of gambling than to the severity of the overall gambling disorder. For example, purchasing a single scratch ticket each day may not be problematic, while less frequent casino, sports or card gambling may be part of a gambling disorder. Similarly, amounts of money spent wagering are not in themselves indicative of gambling disorder. Some individuals can wager thousands of dollars per month and not have a problem with gambling, while others may wager much smaller amounts but experience substantial gambling-related difficulties.
Gambling patterns may be regular or episodic and gambling disorder can be persistent or in remission. Gambling can increase during periods of Stress or Depression and during periods of substance use or abstinence. There may be periods of heavy gambling and severe problems, times of total abstinence and periods of nonproblematic gambling. Gambling disorder is sometimes associated with spontaneous, long-term remissions. Nevertheless, some individuals underestimate their vulnerability to develop gambling disorder or to return to gambling disorder following remission. When in a period of remission, they may incorrectly assume that they will have no problem regulating gambling and that they may gamble on some forms nonproblematically, only to experience a return to gambling disorder.
Early expression of gambling disorder is more common among males than among females. Individuals who begin gambling in youth often do so with family members or friends. Development of early-life gambling disorder appears to be associated with impulsivity and substance abuse. Many high school and college students who develop gambling disorder grow out of the disorder over time, although it remains a lifelong problem for some. Mid and later life onset of gambling disorder is more common among females than among males.
There are age and gender variations in the type of gambling activities and the prevalence rates of gambling disorder. Gambling disorder is more common among younger and middle-age persons than among older adults. Among adolescents and young adults, the disorder is more prevalent in males than in females. Younger individuals prefer different forms of gambling (e.g., sports betting), while older adults are more likely to develop problems with slot machines and bingo gambling. Although the proportions of individuals who seek treatment for gambling disorder are low across all age groups, younger individuals are especially unlikely to present for treatment.
Males are more likely to begin gambling earlier in life and to have a younger age at onset of gambling disorder than females, who are more likely to begin gambling later in life and develop gambling disorder in a shorter time frame. Females with gambling disorder are more likely than males with gambling disorder to have depressive, bipolar and anxiety disorders. Females also have a later age at onset of the disorder and seek treatment sooner, although rates of treatment seeking are low among individuals with gambling disorder regardless of gender.
Risk and Prognostic Factors
Gambling that begins in childhood or early adolescence is associated with increased rates of gambling disorder. Gambling disorder also appears to aggregate with antisocial personality disorder, depressive and bipolar disorders and other substance use disorders, particularly with Alcohol disorders.
Genetic and Physiological
Gambling disorder can aggregate in families and this effect appears to relate to both environmental and genetic factors. Gambling problems are more frequent in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins. Gambling disorder is also more prevalent among first-degree relatives of individuals with moderate to severe Alcohol use disorder than among the general population.
Many individuals, including adolescents and young adults, are likely to resolve their problems with gambling disorder over time, although a strong predictor of future gambling problems is prior gambling problems.
Culture-Related Diagnostic Issues
Individuals from specific cultures and races/ethnicities are more likely to participate in some types of gambling activities than others (e.g., pai gow, cockfights, blackjack, horse racing). Prevalence rates of gambling disorder are higher among African Americans than among European Americans with rates for Hispanic Americans similar to those of European Americans. Indigenous populations have high prevalence rates of gambling disorder.
Gender-Related Diagnostic Issues
Males develop gambling disorder at higher rates than females, although this gender gap may be narrowing. Males tend to wager on different forms of gambling than females with cards, sports and horse racing gambling more prevalent among males and slot machine and bingo gambling more common among females.
Functional Consequences of Gambling Disorder
Areas of psychosocial, health and Mental Health1 functioning may be adversely affected by gambling disorder. Specifically, individuals with gambling disorder may, because of their involvement with gambling, jeopardize or lose important relationships with family members or friends. Such problems may occur from repeatedly lying to others to cover up the extent of gambling or from requesting money that is used for gambling or to pay off gambling debts. Employment or educational activities may likewise be adversely impacted by gambling disorder; absenteeism or poor work or school performance can occur with gambling disorder, as individuals may gamble during work or school hours or be preoccupied with gambling or its adverse consequence when they should be working or studying. Individuals with gambling disorder have poor general health and utilize medical services at high rates.
Gambling disorder must be distinguished from professional and social gambling. In professional gambling, risks are limited and discipline is central. Social gambling typically occurs with friends or colleagues and lasts for a limited period of time, with acceptable losses. Some individuals can experience problems associated with gambling (e.g., short-term chasing behavior and loss of control) that do not meet the full criteria for gambling disorder.
Loss of judgment and excessive gambling may occur during a manic episode. An additional diagnosis of gambling disorder should be given only if the gambling behavior is not better explained by manic episodes (e.g., history of maladaptive gambling behavior at times other than during a manic episode). Alternatively, an individual with gambling disorder may, during a period of gambling, exhibit behavior that resembles a manic episode but once the individual is away from the gambling, these manic-like features dissipate.
Problems with gambling may occur in individuals with antisocial personality disorder and other personality disorders. If the criteria are met for both disorders, both can be diagnosed.
Other Medical Conditions
Some patients taking dopaminergic medications (e.g., for Parkinson’s disease) may experience urges to gamble. If such symptoms dissipate when dopaminergic medications are reduced in dosage or ceased, then a diagnosis of gambling disorder would not be indicated.
Gambling disorder is associated with poor general health. In addition, some specific medical diagnoses, such as tachycardia and angina are more common among individuals with gambling disorder than in general population, even when other substance use disorders, including Tobacco2 use disorder are controlled for. Individuals with gambling disorder have high rates of comorbidity with other mental disorders, such as substance use disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and personality disorders. In some individuals, other mental disorders may precede gambling disorder and be either absent or present during the manifestation of gambling disorder. Gambling disorder may also occur prior to the onset of other mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders and substance use disorders. (19)
Further evidence that gambling and drugs change the brain in similar ways surfaced in an unexpected group of people: those with the neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson’s disease. Characterised by muscle stiffness and tremors, Parkinson’s is caused by the death of dopamine-producing neurons in a section of the midbrain.
Over decades, researchers noticed that a remarkably high number of Parkinson’s patients are compulsive gamblers. Treatment for one disorder most likely contributes to another. To ease symptoms of Parkinson’s some patients take other drugs that increase dopamine levels. Researchers think that in some cases the resulting chemical influx modifies the brain in a way that makes risks and rewards, like those in a game of poker, more appealing and rash decisions more difficult to resist. (17)
If we go back to the end part of the DSM section above, it states that
Some patients taking dopaminergic medications for Parkinson’s disease may experience urges to gamble. (19)
This section highlights that over decades, researchers have noticed a remarkably high number of Parkinsons’ patients are compulsive gamblers.
WHY are we not asking more Questions because this makes no sense?
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells that produce dopamine in the midbrain. If we then use medication to induce dopamine for patients with Parkinson’s then how is that making them compulsive gamblers?
Do we need to examine more closely the serious side effects of the drugs used if this is the result?
The Different Types of Gambler
Not all gamblers are the same. While gambling should be a form of entertainment, certain people get hooked on the high feeling that rushes through their bodies on a win. Some gamblers prefer to frequent poker tables at the local casino, bet on their favourite sports team, play online casinos or watch the weekly lotto.
Research has found that even though gamblers exhibit unique and varying social and personal skills, certain general patterns are more highly noticeable among one set of gamblers than others. With these patterns of behaviour, gamblers can therefore be classified into at least six unique types.
- Gambling is their primary source of income
- Maintains discipline and avoids impulsive betting
Professional gamblers depend on calculative risks to beat huge odds
They tend to prefer gambling mediums where luck does not entirely determine the outcome of their bets.
These kinds of gamblers have high amounts of patience and can accept financial losses without chasing to win them back.
While professional gamblers are not addicted to gambling, they have the potential to become a problem gambler.
Casual Social Gambler
- Makes no attempt to hide any aspect of gambling behaviour
- Others do not see their gambling as excessive
Social gamblers view gambling just like any other recreational activity.
They can therefore put a limit on the amount of time and money spent on their activity.
There is a marked infrequency in gambling activities and they are unbothered when they have to stay away from gambling for long periods of time. Social gamblers are happy with the occasional poker game, casual involvement in the lottery or a yearly trip to Las Vegas.
Serious Social Gambler
- Others may view their gambling as excessive
- Able to maintain control over their gambling
Serious social gamblers spend more time gambling than casual social gamblers.
For them, gambling is a major form of entertainment and relaxation but they are still able to focus on their family and work responsibilities.
While they spend a lot of time in casino rooms or other gambling activities, they display noticeable control over their habit.
Anti-Social or Personality Gambler
- Uses gambling as a way to steal money
- May have a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder
Anti-social or personality gamblers do it for illegal monetary benefits.
They may use marked cards, loaded dice*, events or horse races.
They are quite difficult to spot unless you move in the same circles with them or frequent their place of operation.
*loaded dice is used for cheating. Extra weight is put in them so they always land in a certain way.
- Lack of control over the habit
- Shows serious signs of gambling addiction
Compulsive gamblers prioritise gambling over more important areas of their life – health, family, work.
Other signs of addiction such as alcoholism might be present.
This type of gambler is usually impulsive and can hardly keep a stable job and jumps from one financial difficulty to the other.
Escape or Relief Gamblers
- May go into a trance-like state of consciousness while gambling
- More likely to be women than men
Escape or relief gamblers use gambling to deal with Depression, anxiety or some other form of emotional turmoil. Gambling for them becomes a form of therapeutic experience instead of a euphoric one. They prefer to bet at slot machines and video poker and usually quit gambling when they are able to find a different, more effective way of sorting out their problems. (20)
Research suggests gambling industry employees exhibit high rates of problem gambling.
Employees exhibited problem gambling rates over three times greater than those of the general population. These higher rates were explained primarily by employees who increased their gambling after commencing employment and employees who were attracted to their jobs because of prior gambling involvement. (21)
We have titles for different types of gamblers and that means a professional gambler is seen as better than the Anti-Social or Compulsive gambler.
What if gambling is gambling, regardless of the name we give the individual? In other words, it is like ice cream, we have a particular flavour but it’s still ice cream.
It is like calling safe gambling safer when it is just gambling, which we know is harm-full.
Countries that Gamble the Most
Gambling is so prevalent in Australia that the central bank was led to increase interest rates. Australia allows online wagering on Sports.
Slot machines are favourite games in the country. New South Wales accounts for
- 50% of the total poker machines in Australia
- $1,128 loss per adult gamblers
2010 – first casino opened in Singapore and has since become one of the largest gambling countries in the world. The opening of casinos created worries in the country, with the majority fearing addictions and losses.
$81 entry fee imposed by the government to discourage gambling by the locals.
Families are also allowed to ban their members from visiting the casinos under the “Family Exclusion Orders.” However, these measures have done little to dampen the gambling spirit in the country.
The casino industry in Ireland is entirely unregulated because the country depends on the old Gaming and Lottery Act of 1956.
According to the law of Ireland, only registered members’ clubs are allowed to offer casino services. Bets on gaming machines are not allowed beyond 6 pence while the rewards for gaming are allowed up to 10 shillings. However, this law cannot be enforced since the Irish pound has not been used since 1999.
$588 per adult loss by gambling.
Government to start enacting laws that will help regulate the gaming industry in Ireland.
75% of adults have been involved in at least one form of gambling.
$568 recorded gaming losses per adult.
$841 Saskatchewan province per person adult gambling revenue.
Popular gambling games in Canada include lottery and scratch and win.
The popularity of lottery games has led the government setting up initiatives to discourage giving of lottery ticket to minors as gifts. (22)
98% gamble for fun and entertainment according to Canadian Gaming Association.
Alberta – home to 28 casinos and over 14,000 slot machines.
$2.7 billion revenue generated by gaming industry in 2019. (23)
41% adult population gambles weekly.
Minimum age was raised to 18 years in 2011 from 15 in previous years in a bid to discourage gambling among children.
An Internet gaming company offers paybacks to its loyal customers who spend at least $171.40 on its site but are certified to be suffering from gambling addiction. (22)
32% higher – gambling related spending in September 2020 than in 2019.
During lockdown, NatWest saw a decline in gambling transactions.
As restrictions eased, gambling related spending from the banks’ customers started to increase rapidly. (23)
49.5 million people visited Las Vegas in 2019.
$58 billion generated by tourism in Southern Nevada and Las Vegas valley. (25)
Gamblers Loss per Resident Adult $ approx.
Biggest Loss by Country $ Billion
Problem Gamblers Much More Likely to Attempt Suicide – Study
Problem gamblers are significantly more likely to attempt suicide, according to a pioneering study that has prompted calls for the government to do more to tackle the dangers of gambling.
Research commissioned by a leading UK gambling charity, Gamble Aware found
Problem Gamblers 6 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or try to take their own life.
The elevated risk remained even when correcting for other contributing factors that might be linked to suicidal thoughts, such as Depression, substance abuse and financial problems. (27)
Swedish study found problem gamblers were 15 times more likely to do so. (28)
WHY are our statistics not adding up?
One country states problem gamblers are 6 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or try to take their own life and another study in a different country finds problem gamblers were 15 times more likely.
Would it be wise for us to demand Independent research studies funded by the public and then discuss the findings with other countries so that we come to a one-unified real and accurate reflection of what is really going on and until then we do not publish and notify humanity?
Policymakers of the future must have no vested interest whatsoever, if they are to represent on behalf of the people and for the people.
Imagine what would happen with our research studies in the future if we had simple guidelines that applied worldwide and the code of conduct would not allow for any imposition and that means people before profit.
19% considered Suicide in the past year.
The harms from gambling are profound and can be devastating for individuals, families and communities. These results show how people with gambling problems are a higher risk group for suicidality.
The people on the frontline of dealing with this high-risk group are the industry, who need to think about how they train staff potentially having interactions with suicidal people. They need to ensure those staff will put the well-being of people above profit.
Dr. Heather Wardle – Assistant Professor | London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (27)
Are we aware that problem gamblers are a high risk group for Suicide?
Are we aware that those dealing with this high risk group are the industry and therefore the staff involved will need to ensure that the well-being of people is before profit?
How can we be certain this is what takes place?
Report Shows Betting Industry’s Reliance on Problem Gamblers
The dependence of the UK gambling industry on high-spending VIPs, customers who are disproportionately likely to be addicts, has been laid bare in a report obtained by the Guardian.
As a result, the Gambling Commission is considering whether to ban VIP schemes in Britain.
The report, which has emerged as the government prepares to review gambling legislation, reveals for the first time the extent to which the industry relies on VIP schemes.
The much criticised membership programmes reward gamblers who habitually lose large sums of money with perks such as free bets, cashback on losing wagers or football tickets.
The award of VIP status has been cited as a factor in 7 out of 10 regulatory penalties issued to companies by the commission for failures to prevent problem gambling.
Operators must improve their interaction with VIPs and we have challenged the industry to make faster progress to improve how they manage their customers. We have also taken robust action against operators who fail to protect consumers and we will be even tougher if behaviour does not change.
Gambling Commission (29)
The commission collected data on VIP schemes from nine companies that have been granted anonymity but are understood to be among the UK’s largest and best known.
83% of deposits made on one site are from 2% of its VIP customers.
58% of betting account deposits from a VIP cohort made up 5% of customer base.
48% of deposits from 3% of customers.
The data suggests that if the regulator bans VIP schemes, the decision could be a huge blow to the industry’s revenues.
VIP gamblers are more likely to be addicts than ordinary customers.
47,000 VIP gamblers in Britain and 8% of them thought to be problem gamblers.
One section of the report highlights a concern that algorithms used by gambling companies to track betting patterns are far better at identifying people who might be worth granting VIP status to than they are at spotting problem gamblers.
The regulator suggests several options in response to information about VIPs. They include investigating how VIP staff at gambling companies are incentivised; putting pressure on operators to draw up an industry-wide VIP code of conduct and limiting incentives on offer to scheme members. The document also lays out the option to ban VIP status. (29)
WHY are we not aware that there are membership programmes designed to reward our gamblers who habitually lose large sums of money?
What message are we then giving to the gambler who bets constantly?
WHY are we confirming and endorsing this type of ill behaviour?
What if criticism alone is not enough and there needs to be real Action if we are to ever turn the tides with the current problems related to gambling?
What if the penalties issued to companies for failures to prevent problem gambling is not enough, because things have got worse?
What if our approach is such that it is generally ignored and ‘business as usual’ continues as the industry finds new ways to supply customers?
Again, a reminder, the gambling industry exists because we put it there and that means we, the customers want this form of entertainment.
Think about it – we would put them out of business if we suddenly stopped all forms of gambling.
What if our VIP gamblers are not ever going to let on that they are addicted or have any problem, even if they do have?
What if they have been given this title but they do not feel like a ‘very important person’ because they know their behaviour is irresponsible?
What if our statistics are not a true and accurate reflection of the real problem gamblers?
How concerned are we to learn that this report highlights algorithms used by gambling companies can track those who would be worthy of VIP status, but not at spotting problem gamblers?
This in itself speaks volumes and requires us all to Stop and take a moment to ponder.
“This report shows how completely reliant the industry is on people with gambling problems and that they are profiteering from them. As the Gambling Commission has itself suggested, these practices should be banned to protect problem gamblers and stop the transfer of money from vulnerable addicted gamblers directly into the pockets of the online gambling industry.”
Carolyn Harris – MP | Chair cross-party parliamentary group on Gambling (29)
This is worth a re-read as we all need to know what is really going on.
The gambling industry relies on people with gambling problems to profit from. The Gambling Commission suggests this type of practice should be banned, but to date the only significant change we have is the online gambling industry has gone off the scale, as we have millions choosing this type of entertainment as their self medication lifestyle choice.
The question we need to be asking is WHY do we go to these online gambling sites in the first place?
Without any blame of judgement, if we were Honest we may just get to find out why we behave in this way?
Gamblers are typically offered VIP status after losing large amounts of money with one company, which has an interest in retaining them as a customer rather than see them bet with a rival instead.
VIPs are often assigned a specialist account manager, who has authorisation to offer perks such as free bets and cashback on losing wagers. In some cases, free gifts including tickets to Sports events and even flights.
Last year, a bookmaker agreed to pay £1 million to the victims of a VIP problem gambler who had stolen money to bet in return for a pledge not to inform the industry regulator. The bookmaker showered the gambling addict with thousands of pounds worth of gifts over 2 years, including tickets to football matches and business class flights. Another company was criticised for helping a VIP hide his gambling from his wife.
VIP schemes have also been mentioned in succession of regulatory punishments handed down by the Gambling Commission.
£1 billion fall in stock market value of UK gambling companies in early 2020 following a report by MPs recommending much tighter controls on online gambling, including restrictions on VIP schemes.
The report also called for a £2 stake limit on casino-style slot games, in line with the restrictions imposed on Fixing Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). (29)
Gamblers are offered VIP status after losing large amounts of money to retain them as customers. This confirms that giving them a title may just make them stay and feel important, but at what expense?
What is behind the perks offered like tickets for flights or Sports events?
Why is it making no sense that cashback is about the gambling company giving back a percentage of the amount lost?
Does this sound a bit like the industry itself is gambling to keep customers – taking a risk on their profits (cashbacks and free flights), in the hope that problem gamblers will keep coming back for more and that means the cycle continues and the profits keep coming?
There are enough real life stories online to read about gamblers who steal from close family or their workplace because like a Drug addict they need their self-medication. What they really need is help and support but many are in denial, or they align and subscribe to what they know will eventually destroy them as there are no winners if we are to be honest.
We are talking about a multi billion dollar industry that is making money because we put them there – on the map so to speak.
Let’s not ever forget that the supply and demand has come about because we the customer, the punter, call it the gambler wants this form of entertainment that brings nothing but harm, because of the addictive nature that gambling actually is. The supplier – the industry gives us what we are asking for so that ends all Blame, criticism or Judgment.
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT)
‘Crack Cocaine’ of the Betting World
FOBT – Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are electronic machines sited in betting shops, which contain a variety of games, including roulette. Each machine accepts bets for amounts up to a pre-set maximum and pays out according to fixed odds on the simulated outcomes of games.
£100 was the maximum stake on a single bet up until 31 March 2019.
£2 now the maximum stake and maximum prize stays at £500 from 1 April 2019
Gaming Machine (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocation) Regulations came into force. (30)
34,000 fixed odd betting terminals in UK 2018.
It is possible to make one bet every 20 seconds.
£1.8 billion lost by gamblers every year on FOBT.
£1,000 lost in a single session by thousands.
£1 billion in gambling tax a year from fixed odds betting terminals Treasury raise. (31)
Critics claimed the £100 stake meant it was possible to lose large amounts of money on FOBTs and that machines were addictive and had a causal role in problem gambling.
The gambling industry disputed the causal link between FOBTs and problem gambling. It also claimed that reducing the maximum stake to £2 would put betting shops and jobs at risk. (30)
This is worth noting – one small country and only one form of betting is generating a billion pounds (yes, that is correct £1,000,000,000) for the treasury in tax and that is for one year.
We all need to wake up because something is seriously not right here.
Remember this is just on the fixed odds betting terminals, so what about all the other gambling tax collected?
Next – gamblers are losing 1.8 billion every year on these fixed odds betting terminals.
Common sense tells us we are being set up and these terminals we have created are designed so that we never win or defy them. But yet we keep using them, keeping the FOBT industry alive.
These machines would not exist or make profit for the industry if we did not want them. Again another reminder, it is us, the customer who wants this type of betting machine and it is us who ends up losing and suffering.
WHY does this not make sense, but yet we keep on doing it over and over again and not learning?
WHY have fixed odds betting terminals been called the ‘crack cocaine’ of the betting world?
Is this telling us that gambling on FOBT is similar to taking crack cocaine?
Watch this video and see what gambling does to the brain.
Inside the Brain of a Gambling Addict – Video
BBC arranged for gambler Tony Franklin to join a unique experiment by of the world’s leading experts on addiction – Professor David Nutt.
Gambling addiction is not a failure of will.
It is a brain disorder that is preyed upon by the gambling industry.
Honestly I can feel my heart beating, rising just looking at the damn thing!
Once you become addicted it is very very hard to stop because you have changed your brain. Addiction is a brain that has changed, to become entrained to the desires of the gambling.
This will be the first time anyone plays something similar to a fixed odds betting terminal from inside an MRI scanner. The professor says it will reveal what’s happening in Tony’s brain as he uses a keypad to bet.
I have got a thousand pounds to spend. Can I spend it all on the first spin?
When Tony is doing the task, looking at the roulette wheel and making a decision to bet, parts of the brain get turned on and then they cannot stop and we think there is probably a chemical basis to that. So that is what we are expecting to see – that the habit centres are over-activated in people with gambling addictions, compared with normal people like us.
1. Placing a Bet
The brain’s not very active – maybe a little bit here he is thinking “what shall I do?” but it is pretty calm. Contrast that with what happens with the next one.
2. The Roulette Spin
That is a huge difference from there to there, so that is in a couple of seconds?
So here we see the visual system, the back of the brain intensely activated.
He is watching really closely, he wants that ball bearing to come down on his colour. And now we look at the emotional regions and these are different regions activated.
This is the anterior singular cortex, this is the insular. And these are the 2 areas of the brain which make sense of emotions. They may generate the emotions he is feeling, the excitement:
“Will I win, Won’t I win?”
3. The Win
And here we see a very similar picture. In fact the only real difference between winning and anticipating is this area here. And this is an area where I think we see the sense of satisfaction. Yes I have won, that’s good. Register that, start again.
But overall, winning and waiting to see if you have won, the anticipation, they are both pretty much the same. And that is really a key point about gambling. It is not just the winning that counts, it is the taking part. And the taking part repeatedly when you do not win is as activating to a gambler as the winning.
When you are sitting at a fixed odds terminal, you are getting this every 20 seconds, so you can have hundreds of them.
So that process in the end becomes habitual. It becomes addictive. (32)
Research in the past two decades has dramatically improved neuroscientists’ working model of how the brain changes as an addiction develops. In the middle of our cranium, a series of circuits known as the reward system links various scattered brain regions involved in memory, movement, pleasure and motivation.
Continuous use of such drugs robs the drugs of their power to induce euphoria. Addictive substances keep the brain so awash in dopamine that it eventually adapts by producing less of the molecule and becoming less responsive to its effects. As a consequence, addicts build up a tolerance to a drug, needing larger and larger amounts to get high. In severe addiction, people also go through withdrawal where they physically feel ill, cannot Sleep and shake uncontrollably – if their brain is deprived of a dopamine-stimulating substance for too long. At the same time, neural pathways connecting the reward circuit to the prefrontal cortex weaken. Resting just above and behind the eyes, the prefrontal cortex helps tame impulses.
In other words, the more an addict uses a drug, the harder it becomes to stop.
Research to date shows problem gamblers and drug addicts share many of the same genetic dispositions for impulsivity and reward seeking. Just as substance addicts require increasingly strong hits to get high, compulsive gamblers pursue even riskier ventures. Likewise, both drug addicts and problem gamblers endure symptoms of withdrawal when separated from the chemical or thrill they desire. And a few studies suggest that some people are especially vulnerable to both drug addiction and compulsive gambling because their reward circuitry is inherently underactive, which may partially explain why they seek big thrills in the first place.
Neuroscientists have learned that Drugs and gambling alter many of the same brain circuits in similar ways. These insights come from studies of blood flow and electrical activity in people’s brains as they complete various tasks on computers that either mimic casino games or test their impulse control.
2005 – a study in Germany using such a card game suggests problem gamblers, like drug addicts have lost sensitivity to their high: when winning, subjects had lower than typical electrical activity in a key region of the brain’s reward system.
2003 – Yale University Study and 2012 Amsterdam University Study – problem gamblers taking tests that measured their impulsivity had unusually low levels of electrical activity in prefrontal brain regions that help people assess risks and suppress instincts.
A new understanding of compulsive gambling has also helped scientists redefine addiction itself.
Experts used to think of addiction as dependency on a chemical, they now define it as repeatedly pursuing a rewarding experience despite serious repercussions. That experience could be the high of cocaine or heroin or the thrill of doubling one’s money at the casino.
The past idea was that you need to ingest a drug that changes neurochemistry in the brain to get addicted but we now know that just about anything we do alters the brain.
It makes sense that some highly rewarding behaviors, like gambling can cause dramatic (physical) changes too.
Timothy Fong – Psychiatrist and Addiction Expert | University of California (17)
Therapists have already found that problem gamblers respond much better to medication and therapy typically used for addictions rather than strategies for taming compulsions.
Medications used to treat substance addictions have proved effective for problem gamblers. Opioid antagonists, such as naltrexone, indirectly inhibit brain cells from producing dopamine, thereby reducing cravings. (17)
To ensure we have all read this correctly – our neuroscientists are telling us that they now know more about the brain changes that happen as an addiction develops.
When drugs like Amphetamine and cocaine are introduced, the reward system in the brain releases up to 10 times more dopamine than usual.
Dopamine is a type of chemical messenger known as a neurotransmitter. Our nervous system uses it to send messages between nerve cells. It plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It also helps us to plan and Focus. (33)
What we have established is that with continuous use, the Drugs do not work with the same potency to induce euphoria. That means they do not keep giving us the altered state we seek of intense excitement and Happiness.
Origin of the word Euphoria comes from late 17th century.
Denoting well-being produced in a sick person by the use of drugs. (34)
If we study the origin of the word euphoria, what is it telling us?
What if we are Sick and we do want a state of well-being and this is why we seek drugs in the first place?
What if any mind altering Drug will never work because it is not naturally being produced but rather introduced into the brain?
This section also tells us that addicts build up a tolerance to a drug and this means they need larger and larger amounts to get the high state they desire. With severe addiction withdrawal, the person feels physically ill, cannot Sleep and shakes uncontrollably. This is because the brain has become deprived of the dopamine stimulating substance for too long. Add to that the pre-frontal cortex in the brain weakens so it becomes difficult to control impulses and we can understand why it is hard for an addict to stop.
Research to date shows problem gamblers and drug addicts share many of the genetic dispositions for impulsivity and reward seeking.
A drug addict needs stronger hits to get the high and a compulsive gambler will pursue risker ventures.
There are studies suggesting drug addiction and compulsive gambling combined, is due to the reward circuitry being permanently underactive.
We could ask what is it about us that seeks and craves reward?
What are we aligning to in order to get our rewarding experience?
What on earth is missing in our lives that makes us want a reward?
What starts us off on the road of wanting something to alter our state?
What is going on in daily life that we need to escape and seek pleasure?
How serious is it that gambling is not viewed or treated in the same way as drugs like cocaine but yet it has similar effects on the body?
Scientists now have a new understanding that compulsive gambling is about repeatedly pursuing a rewarding experience despite serious repercussions. This means it could be seeking reward from the high of cocaine or doubling money at a casino.
This means what we want is a rewarding experience and it is like our brain is hijacked and we have no rational or reasonable logic to work out that there will be serious consequences as a result. We could go as far as to say that when we are in a mind-altering state, we are not equipped to support ourselves to take the next steps to evolve.
On that note, we have an addiction expert saying that just about anything we do alters the brain and therefore it makes sense that gambling, which is highly rewarding can cause sudden physical changes too.
It will also make sense why problem gamblers respond better with medication used to treat substance addictions.
80% of gambling addicts never seek treatment in the first place
75% of those who do seek treatment return to gaming halls
A gambling addict may be a huge source of revenue for a casino at first but many end up owing massive debts they cannot pay. (17)
80% never seek treatment is speaking volumes. We must take note as this is very very serious.
Something is not making sense – we have statistics and studies telling us this and that and yet most with gambling addictions are not seeking any kind of help or support.
How have they been wired and what is behind this un-natural behaviour?
What on earth is going on for them that they are not able to get the much needed treatment required to end the cycle of harm and get back on track?
What is even more concerning is 75% of those who do seek treatment return to gaming halls, so this means our Solutions are clearly not working.
We have created gambling and we have made it what it is today.
What if we also have the answers how to not be a problem gambler?
What if we know what is needed to support and treat gamblers, but it would mean no profits for a multi billion dollar industry and all those who invest in it?
Are we really ready for this degree of change or do we just continue to deal with these problem gamblers like they are not our fellow brothers?
Are we willing to find another way if our source of revenue comes from gambling addicts?
Are we on a profit before people mode of operating our business?
On that note for those who profit from gambling addicts –
What if there was a universal law called The Law of Karma?
Would that make us think again and consider changing?
How Sound and Visual Effects on Slot Machines Increase Allure of Gambling
The sights and sounds of winning on a slot machine may increase our desire to play and our memories of winning big according to new research by University of Alberta scientists.
The study shows that people prefer to play on virtual slot machines that provide casino-related cues, such as the sound of coins dropping or symbols of dollar signs.
These results show how cues associated with money or winning can make slot machines more attractive and can even make bigger wins more memorable. Such cues are prevalent in casinos and likely increase the allure of slot machine gambling.
Professor Marcia Spetch – Department of Psychology (23)
The researchers also found that people preferred to play on machines with these cues no matter how risky the machine was and regardless of when the sound or visual effects appeared.
Attraction to slot machines and memory for winning can be influenced by factors other than the amount of money won on a slot machine.
Christopher Madan PhD – co-author from University of Nottingham, UK (23)
The gambling world want to ensure we keep coming back and we have a study showing that the sound of coins dropping and the symbols of dollar signs are the virtual slot machines we seek.
The fact gamblers prefer to play on these machines speaks volumes.
However, we are not questioning WHY we are attracted to flashing lights and sounds that provide casino related cues.
How serious is it that players are not bothered how risky the machine is when the sound or visual effects appear?
What is this telling us about our behaviour when we are gambling?
Gambling block is a feature that allows you to block your bank account, bank card or credit card from being used for gambling transactions. (35)
Banks are making it harder to spend money by changing financial systems to take the anxiety out of money and better protect us from falling into debt when our Mental Health2 fails.
Gambling blocks stop customers from spending at high street bookies or online betting sites. Once the mode is enabled, you have to wait 48 hours to turn it off.
Money and Mental Health – a charity with a wish list of similar features for banks to introduce, calling for the ability to set your own spending limits, share account access with carers of your support network and make it easier to track spending and saving.
93% spend more in periods of poor Mental Health1 (36)
£12.6 Billion Scale of UK Gambling Problem
Experts warning that the UK must face up to the scale of its gambling problem with a lack of research and industry influence, preventing proper scrutiny of a growing national habit.
48% admitted gambling at least once in the previous month
People questioned by the Gambling Commission (37)
Online or “remote” gambling, particularly betting on football matches and the “in play” events within them is exploding in popularity. Yet according to academics not nearly enough is known or understood about the effects of gambling on those who do it, while the industry and its associated technologies continue to become more sophisticated.
What we have with online gambling is a new platform for providing a whole range of existing gambling services, which effectively increases exposure and availability to unprecedented levels. It is a profound change and vulnerable groups such as young people have the ability to gamble 24 hours a day from the comfort of their home and we have no idea of the extent of the problem.
There needs to be a recognition there are conflicts of interest that need to be actively managed.
Most of what we know about gambling harm is through research and evidence heavily influenced by industry.
The industry has been able to maintain control over the topics addressed.
Dr Sean Cowlishaw – Bristol University (37)
When we look at research into Tobacco3 and increasingly Alcohol, we can see the involvement of commercial groups can impede effective policy development. When we look at proposals for dealing with problem gambling, such as self-exclusion* schemes or identifying people gambling in harmful ways, they all rely on partnerships with industry. Dr. Sean Cowlishaw (37)
*Self-exclusion is a process by which problem gamblers ask a bookmaker or casino to exclude them from gambling for an agreed period of time.
The truth is these things are on a continuum. For every one who is so obvious that they are pathological there are 10 who are gambling in a risky way, some of whom will be able to pull back and some who won’t.
Professor Jim Orford – School of Psychology, Birmingham University
Founder of Gambling Watch UK (37)
Hospital Admissions for Gambling – Double in 6 years
500 people needed emergency treatment after gambling caused illness, including psychosis.
NHS figures reveal 171 patients needed medical intervention for problematic gambling where people turn to crime to fund their addiction. This was up by one third during December 2018 – December 2019.
The NHS has warned of a rising tide of gambling-related illnesses and hit out at predatory betting firms for ‘egging on’ gamblers. (38)
50% of the population now gamble in UK
400,000 addicted to gambling (38)
The NHS has opened the first ever specialist problem gambling clinic for children amid warnings that betting is ‘destroying the Mental Health2 of a generation of young people’.
NHS chief Simon Stevens condemned betting firms for their ‘aggressive push into online gambling’ after a survey revealed that half the population now gamble. (38)
We are now at a point where more than one person every day in Britain has to be admitted to hospital as a result of gambling.
Matt Zarb-Cousin – Campaign for Fairer Gambling (38)
Skins are collectable, virtual items in video games that change the appearance of a weapon – for example, turning a pistol into a golden gun.
Skins can be earned within a game but can also be bought with real money.
Some games let players trade and sell skins, with rarer examples attracting high prices.
Since skins won on such a website could theoretically be sold and turned back into real-world money, critics say betting with skins is unlicensed gambling.
Because of these unlicensed skin betting sites, the safeguards that exist are not being applied and we are seeing examples of really young people, 11 and 12 year olds getting involved in skin betting and not realising it is gambling.
At one level they are running up bills perhaps on their parents’ PayPal account or credit card but the wider effect is the introduction and normalization of this kind of gambling among children and young people.
Sarah Harrison – Chief Executive | Gambling Commission (39)
It is a huge emerging issue that is getting bigger and bigger but parents are not even thinking about it.
Vicky Shotbolt – ParentZone Group (39)
Children as Young as 11 Introduced to Gambling
Thousands of children and young people are losing money on websites which allow them to trade virtual items, gambling experts have warned.
The Gambling Commission’s Annual Report (2017) has for the first time, looked at the problem called “skin betting”.
Items won – usually modified guns or knives within a video game known as a skin, can often be sold and turned back into real money.
59% of boys knew about the activity.
45% age 11-16 aware of “skin betting”.
11% age 11-16 had placed bets using in-game items.
3rd party websites enable children to gamble the virtual weapons on casino or slot machine type games, offering them the chance to generate real money.
Struggle to buy food
Bangor University student started gambling age 15 when he became involved in skin betting. Four years later he lost more than £2,000.
He wanted to build an inventory of skins but when he could not afford the price tag attached to some of them, he began gambling on unlicensed websites to try to raise money.
I get my student loan, some people spend it on expensive clothes, I spend it on gambling virtual items. There have been points where I could struggle to buy food because this takes priority. (39)
The skins gambling industry is estimated to be worth around £3 billion a year worldwide.
Many skins gambling sites are based in Russia and target their games directly at young people. (39)
How many of us even know what skin betting is?
Are our kids starting a new form of gambling that is a ‘huge emerging issue’ but we have not taken the steps to find out what they get up to during screen time?
Are we comfortable in handing over our money for them to spend online and have we considered our Responsibility?
Are we raising our children to be the new generation of problem gamblers because we ignored the signs of skin betting in our own homes?
Epidemic of Child Gamblers
450,000 children aged 11 – 16 gamble in the UK
55,000 children are classed as problem gamblers
70,000 more children deemed ‘at risk’
Report by Gambling Commission (November 2018) (40)
Almost a million youngsters have been exposed to gambling through *loot boxes in computer games or on smartphone apps. (40)
*Loot boxes are virtual items users can purchase in games with real money. In the box, users will find a randomised selection of items that customise or alter the user’s experience of the game. The user will not receive any physical objects in the offline world as a result of these boxes.
The items in a loot box could be skins (that change the appearance of their character), new weapons or tools (that improve the characters ability) or access to new characters. (41)
We are on the brink of a gambling epidemic in this country. I am calling for a stop to gambling advertising on live sports events on television.
Lord Chadlington – former Chairman of Action on Addiction (40)
A generation of young people think gambling is part of watching sport.
When opportunities to gamble arise they think that is a normal thing to do. If you get addicted to gambling in school and you don’t have much life experienced before that, it is very difficult to recover from it.
The fact that problem gambling in children appears to be increasing exponentially should send alarm bells.
Matt Zarb-Cousin – Campaign for Fairer Gambling (40)
The Gambling Commission Report was based on an Ipsos Mori study of 2,865 children aged 11 to 16 between February and July 2018. They were assessed as either a ‘problem’ or an ‘at risk’ gambler on the basis of questions about their behaviour. These included how often they thought about gambling, if they had stolen to fund stakes or if betting had ever led them to lie to their parents.
The report found the most common route to gambling was fruit machines in pubs or arcades and cash bets with friends. Some children admitted using betting shops or online gambling sites, both of which are illegal for under-18s.
The study revealed that 1 in 7 boys follow betting brands on Social Media sites. (40)
1 in 10 Children Follow Betting Firms on Phones
1 in 10 aged 11 to 15 now follow gambling companies on Social Media.
16 – 24 age group are among the 2nd highest rate of problem gambling.
2007 – doors open to adverts for Sports betting, online casinos and poker.
Gambling Act 2005
There has been an explosion in the number of television adverts and the sponsorship of events and teams by gambling companies.
Many use humour, famous faces, free bets and other ‘get rich quick’ inducements to encourage people to gamble on their smartphones.
Everything from the number of corners in a football match to no-balls in a cricket game are the subject of betting markets.
Gambling can lead to debt, Mental Health issues, crime and Family breakdown.
It is vital that improved social responsibility measures are implemented to help reduce this.
Simon Blackburn – Local Government Association (42)
This article presents The Real Truth about Gambling to bring awareness about a topic that most of us think is doing us no harm.
We have become great at ignoring the signs and we are not interested in taking real responsibility for our lifestyle choices.
Many of us consider crack cocaine to be harm-full and yet we have scientific research studies telling us gambling is having similar affects to drugs but we do nothing other than wait for more research studies.
Our children are gambling and if we do not ask questions and nail this, then we must expect our future generations to have even more pathological gamblers.
We have The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – the handbook used by health care professionals all over the world telling us:
Individuals with gambling disorder have poor general health and utilize medical services at high rates.
We know that the majority of gamblers do not seek help and support.
Those who do end up asking, are using medical services at high rates.
We do know that our health systems cannot cope with the steep rise in illness and other dis-eases.
We all know that gambling is a lifestyle choice that we have yet to admit is no different to other mind-altering substances.
How can we bring an end when our world spends $10 trillion dollars every year on gambling?
What now, what next and how do we take steps for the future…
What are we going to put into society and what are our measures?
In other words, what are the standards – the markers we are going to implement to bring about real and true change?
Where is our own individual responsibility and that means how are we living in daily life that contributes in any way to irresponsible living?
Our experts are telling us that gambling is having a huge impact on all aspects of life – debt, mental health and family breakdown to name a few.
Simple Living Global has started the steps for future policy makers worldwide to take note.
We will continue The Real Truth about Gambling – Part 2 out March 2021
If you are experiencing difficulties with gambling 24 hour support is available at:
Global – Gambling Therapy
Australia – Gambling Help Online
Tel: 1800 858 858
Ireland – Gamble Aware Ireland
Tel: 1 800 753 753
UK – Gamble Aware
Tel: 0808 8020 133
USA – National Problem Gambling Helpline
Canada – Responsible Gambling
(1) (n.d). Gambling – Definition and Meaning. Market Business News. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(2) (n.d). Lexico. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(3) (2020). What is Safer Gambling Week? Safer Gambling UK. Retrieved November 4, 2020 from
(4) (2020). What is ‘Safer Gambling’? Safer Gambling UK. Retrieved November 4, 2020 from
(5) (2014, August). Gambling. Better Health Channel. Retrieved November 4, 2020 from
(6) (n.d). Types of Gambling. British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program. Retrieved November 4, 2020 from
(7) Glimne, D. (n.d). Gambling. Britannica. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(8) Gambling Market – by Type (Lotteries, Casino, Sports Betting, Others) Trends and Market Size, Opportunities And Strategies – Global Forecast to 2022. The Business Research Company. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(9) (2019, June 6). Global Gambling Market to Reach $565 Billion By 2022: Opportunities & Strategies Report, 2014 to 2022 – ResearchAndMarkets.com. Business Wire. Retrieved November 7, 2020 from
(10) Gainsbury, S. (2015, April 11). Online Gambling Addiction: the Relationship Between Internet Gambling and Disordered Gambling. NCBI. Retrieved November 7, 2020 from
(11) Lock, S. (2020, September 9). Size of the Online Gambling market in 2019 to 2023 (in billion U.S. Dollars). Statista. Retrieved November 5, 2020 from
(12) (2020, April 22). Global Online Gambling Market (2020 to 2027) – Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report. Globe Newswire. Retrieved November 5, 2020 from
(13) (n.d). What is Blockchain? EuroMoney. Retrieved November 14, 2020 from
(14) (n.d). What’s the Difference Between Blockchain and Bitcoin? EuroMoney. Retrieved November 14, 2020 from
(15) (2020, May 21). Global Online Gambling Market Report 2020 – 30: Covid-19 Growth and Change. PR Newswire. Retrieved November 5, 2020 from
(16) (2018, August). What is Gambling Disorder? American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved November 15m 2020 from
(17) Jabr, F. (2013, November 1). How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling. Scientific American. Retrieved November 17, 2020 from
(18) (n.d). DSM-5 Frequently Asked Questions. American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved November 22, 2020 from
(19) American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, V A, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 (pp. 585 – 589)
(20) (2017, October 6). The Different Types of Gamblers. www.gamblersanonymous.co.uk Retrieved November 5, 2020 from
(21) Guttentag, D., Harrigan, K.A., & Smith S. (2012, April). Gambling by Ontario Casino Employees: Gambling Behaviours, Problem Gambling and Impacts of the Employment. ResearchGate. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(22) Misachi, J. (2017, April 25). Countries That Gamble the Most. World Atlas. Retrieved November 8, 2020 from
(23) University of Alberta. (2020, February 27). How Sound and Visual Effects on Slot Machines Increase the Allure of Gambling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(24) (2020, October 26). Natwest Introduces 48-Hour Delay Gambling Block Feature. GamCare. Retrieved November 4, 2020 from
(25) Lupiani, J. (2020, January 31). More Than 42 Million People Visited Las Vegas in 2019. KTNV. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(26) (2017, February 9). The World’s Biggest Gamblers. The Economist. Retrieved November 8, 2020 from
(27) Davies, R. (2019, July 19). Problem Gamblers Much More Likely to Attempt Suicide. The Guardian. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(28) Davies, R. (2019, March 13). Problem Gamblers at 15 Times Higher Risk of Suicide, Study Finds. The Guardian. Retrieved November 21, 2020 from
(29) Davies, R. (2020, January 2). Report Show’s Betting Industry’s Reliance on Problem Gamblers. The Guardian. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(30) Woodhouse, J. (2019, October 15). Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. House of Commons Library. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(31) (2018, May 17). Betting Machine Stakes Cut to £2. BBC News. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from
(32) (2016, September 12). What Happens Inside the Brain of a Gambling Addict? BBC News. Retrieved November 22, 2020 from
(33) (n.d). What is Dopamine? WebMD. Retrieved November 21, 2020 from
(34) (n.d). Google. Retrieved November 21, 2020 from
(35) (n.d). Block Gambling Transactions from Your Bank Account. GamBan. Retrieved November 4, 2020 from
(36) Kobie, N. (2018, November 22). Monzo and Starling are Making Banks Take Mental Health Seriously. Wired. Retrieved November 21, 2020 from
(37) MacInnes, P. (2017, April 27). Experts Warn of £12.6bn Scale of UK Gambling Problem. The Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2020 from
(38) Hayward, E. (2019, December 28). ‘Shameless’ Betting Giants Cause Hospital Admissions for Gambling to Double in Six Years, the NHS Warns. MailOnline. Retrieved November 21, 2020 from
(39) (2017, December 12). Skin Betting: ‘Children as Young as 11 Introduced to Gambling. BBC News. Retrieved November 22, 2020 from
(40) Witherow, T. (2018, November 21). Child Gambler Epidemic: Worrying New Figures Reveal 55,000 under-17s Have ‘a Problem’ with Another 70,000 at Risk – As Experts Blame Explosion in TV Adverts. MailOnline. Retrieved November 21, 2020 from
(41) (2019, September 19). 11 Things You Should Know About Loot Boxes. UK Safer Internet Centre. Retrieved November 20, 2020 from
(42) Poulter, S. (2017, September 30). One in Ten Children Now Follow Betting Firms on Social Media as TV Adverts Draw Youngsters into Gambling. MailOnline. Retrieved November 18, 2020 from