A NGO (non-profit, non-governmental) has been formed to make people aware of the various aspects related to the problem of gambling addiction. SaferGaming.com established Q1 2016 in Malta, has been launched to educate the gamblers and seek ways to further the research and funding on gambling addiction worldwide.
Gambling is a very popular leisure activity in America and the legal restrictions have not been able to curb the enthusiasm of the gamblers. Online gambling has opened a whole other door, and in came throngs of aspiring gamblers who can bet “casually” from the comforts of their home.
The problem of gambling addiction is not an uncommon one. Gambling can be enjoyable if it remains within control and does not take over someone’s life. During the past ten years, more than 80% of Americans have participated in some form of gambling, be it betting at an online casino or at a horse race. Among the approximately 5% fall prey to serious gambling problems and actually develop a physiological addiction.
According to statistics from Harvard, around 750,000 individuals from the US have to deal with some form of a gambling problem, ranging in age from 14 to 21 years old. The risk of developing a gambling problem decreases with age, but is doubled between 17 and 22, but the chance a person will gamble increases with age.
Gaming addiction is also linked with crime, believe it or not. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington conducted a study to reveal the alarming findings that around 50% of the individuals afflicted with gambling problems participate in some form of crime to fuel their addiction. Victims have increasingly cited the influence of Electronic Gaming Machines and Slots for their onset of the addiction, while very few site table games.
Treatment of gambling addiction is not very comprehensive and there is a lack of resources and proper funding. The established medical procedures to treat the problem are much less effective than substance addiction treatment. There are no medications which helps prevent relapse. This is why sites like SaferGaming.com are important to the gambling industry. SaferGaming.com aims to lobby to governments and work with Universities to support them and contribute to the research of gambling/gaming addiction.
Gambling isn’t harmful when the player is in control. It can be one of the best ways to relax and entertain yourself over a lazy weekend. However, if you’re not in control, it could become a problem unless you have an unlimited supply of money.
…What can the NGO do?
The founders of the NGO had their early career based in Las Vegas casino gaming and encountered many customers and clients who suffered from problems it brought. Compulsively playing can wreak havoc in the victim’s finances, personal life, and cause depression, anxiety, stress and other psychological disorders. Problems could arise in maintaining relationships and it can lead to the victim feeling isolated making it hard to cope. Unfortunately, this usually leads the person to gamble more in the search for relief.
Gambling itself is not a bad thing, but like anything powerfully enjoyable, it has the ability to draw a person in and make them want to experience it again. The rush and excitement experienced after a win is hard to match. Yet there are families that have been ruined and turned dysfunctional in a short time when a person can not be stopped from betting.
There is still a need for more education and awareness, but some progress is being made by a company in Malta, a hub for internet gambling providers. In the near future, we should see more raw data, but more importantly, we may see progress in getting help to gamblers who actually need it.