You can quickly get into a gambling addiction – without really noticing it yourself. There are a number of signs that you can check for yourself, or that your family and friends may notice. However, there are effective tools for player protection both online and offline. We introduce them in this blog post. “You got into gambling addiction faster than you think. The consequences can be more drastic than many suspect. ”With these two sentences, the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) summarizes in a very compact way how addiction to gambling can express itself. Because, as with virtually all addictions, the person affected is the last to notice that he has even got into an addiction. And that can happen almost anywhere, for example offline in a game library or online on the computer or smartphone. We want to cover here which types of gambling online and offline have which addiction potential, how to recognize a gambling addiction and what can be done online and offline against it.
Which games of chance have addictive potential? From horse betting to slot machines, online slot games to lottery, poker or even intraday trading – the range of what is counted under gambling is wide. None of these, however, lead to an addiction – this distinguishes gambling from many other “addictive substances”. However, there is a different amount of potential to lead to gambling addiction. Experts differentiate between “rather low”, “medium” and “rather high” hazard potential. The extent to which gambling can make you dependent depends on several factors: How fast is the game sequence? Playing the lottery once a week – with only one prize draw – has little potential, according to experts, to lead to an addiction. On the other hand, games with a fast game sequence as given on slot machines or online slots are quite dangerous. Anyone who has already developed an addiction, for example the experts at the BZgA, will also prefer to play fast games because the “effects set in faster” – meaning that something can be gained faster – and of course also lost. With fast games, the “frustration” about a loss does not last that long – with the next game you could win again.
How quickly is a profit paid out? Speed is also a factor in profit availability. The sooner possible winnings are credited, the sooner an addicted player can invest them again. The prospect of quick profits also increases the potential for addiction. How much is the impression of being able to influence the game? If everything is correct in gambling, it is only chance that determines whether someone wins or loses. That is one of the essential definitions of gambling. Nevertheless, with some games there is at least a subjective impression that one could have a greater or lesser influence on the course of the game. The experts say that this increases the potential for addiction. These – usually only apparent – influence options include a stop button on the slot machine. Even “background information” on horse or sports betting or intraday exchange trading is never a “surefire” tip – whether the horse or the football club wins or whether the share price rises never depends on just a few factors.
Bayern Munich also loses to a regional league in the DFB Cup. In addition, especially in football there is often the chance to win as a supposedly inferior team with just one happy goal. In addition, according to experts, many players overestimated their knowledge. A partial exception is how good you can bluff at the table or read the reaction of other players – how the cards are distributed is still a coincidence. What are the winnings, opportunities and stakes? Large potential winnings – such as high jackpots – and / or the possibility of using only small amounts of money increase the risk potential of gambling, according to the addiction researchers. Even if you do not play with “real money”, but with tokens or credits – or can use your credit card – this is more dangerous or more dangerous. If there are also many small winnings or fast winnings, the players would also rate the winning opportunities more positively than they actually are. The possible range of operations – from very small to very large – also plays a role. For example, if you try to make up for the loss after a loss by making a significantly higher bet, you may be on the way to gambling addiction.
What atmosphere does the game convey? Games, fun and excitement – that’s exactly what most people look for in order to have a conversation. For many online games, this is a factor for a good rating, but it naturally also increases the risk of developing an addiction. Such an atmosphere is not only present in well-made online slot games with beautiful graphics and music, but also on the racetrack for horse betting or in a casino. Slot machines also try to create “mood” with light and sound effects. How available is gambling? The lower the threshold to be overcome, the higher the potential for addiction, is said. For example, scratch cards or online games have a higher potential for addiction than playing roulette in a casino. However, it goes without saying that games of chance with a very high risk potential do not necessarily lead to gambling addiction. That also depends on the individual player, his character and / or life circumstances. How do you recognize that you yourself or a relative or friend is addicted or endangered? (Almost) with all forms of addiction – except for some synthetic chemical drugs, which are usually addictive the first time they are used – addictions creep up. Alcohol, tobacco and gambling are primarily something for many people to enjoy, you enjoy it, have fun. Experts then speak of “use” – after all, having fun is not wrong or forbidden. However, if you regularly and habitually consume a potential “addictive substance”, you can easily fall into the area of so-called “abuse” and ultimately become “dependent”.
With gambling addiction, many symptoms are similar to other addictions – and often the person concerned is not even aware that he is dependent. “A gambling addict cheats on himself and others,” say the BZgA search experts. Symptoms are, for example, that the affected person’s thinking is almost only about playing, that there is a loss of control, “not being able to stop” and that the person does not want to pause. Others such as hobbies, family or work are neglected and attempts are made to legally or illegally get money for the next game. Among other things, the Federal Center for Health Education , various aid organizations and offers such as Spielucht-Therapie.de , the regional office for gambling addiction in Bavaria or many online casinos such as Mr. Green , Casumo and Leovegas (and others) offer an online self-test, with which you can check whether your own gaming behavior is still in order.
With some questions that you should answer honestly and critically yourself, you can already see the tendency to get into gambling addiction. If you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, you should admit that you need help: Do you think a lot or even constantly about gambling, for example about new strategies to win or how to raise money for gambling? Have you tried unsuccessfully to play less? Have you already neglected family, partners, friends or work when playing, or have you had difficulties because of this? Have you had to play more or use more to feel the same excitement? Have you been hiding from others that you are gambling or have you tried to hide it? If you are not playing, do you feel restlessness or irritation and the desire to play? Are you trying to play more or at higher stakes to pay off gambling debts? Have you tried to illegally get money to play with? Have others already had to pay gambling debts for you because their financial situation is poor? Similarly, friends, partners or family members should look at the suspicion that someone is addicted to gambling and look for the corresponding symptoms. For example, if the account is empty despite a perhaps good salary for a reason that is not apparent, the partner is constantly in front of the computer or is incomprehensibly “on the go”.