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Responsible Gaming

Gambling is a great way to have fun and make some money if you're lucky. Unfortunately, some players find it hard to contain their habits, turning entertainment into an addiction. Online gambling establishments worsen the situation by making it easy for players to access it anytime. Operators and regulatory authorities establish strict protocols to help mitigate addiction and assist in returning to an addiction-free life routine. The responsible gambling initiative provides players with the necessary measures to let go of their addiction. Responsible gambling acts include self-exclusion, setting betting limits, temporary account holding, and many more.

Responsible Gaming

Are you going through something similar, or do you know someone struggling with a gambling addiction? If yes, you're on the right page, as we have gathered the essential information you should know about controlling this addiction. Learn the signs and symptoms, type of addiction, dealing with one, and helpful tips to handle the situation. But first, let’s establish the pros and cons of gambling.


  • Serves as a venue for entertainment
  • Players usually get the value for the money they invest in online casinos
  • Playing certain casino games boosts skills


  • Gamblers can eventually cause players to be addicted
  • Addicted gamblers tend to lose a lot of money and become hugely indebted
  • Addiction could lead to depression and other mental illness

What Is Gambling Addiction (Ludomania)

Gambling addiction is similar to any other form of addiction. In other words, a person suffering from gambling addiction can't stop themselves from gambling, even if they know it's doing more harm than good. Despite this, gambling addiction has several levels as it affects every individual differently.

The following are different types of gamblers.

Problem Gambler

Even though a problem gambler is not a compulsive gambler, they don't have complete control over their gambling activity either. This type would experience problems and setbacks in their life, and it will interfere with their relationship with people. These gamblers would want to spend more time betting than living their everyday lives.

Problem gambling has several adverse effects. Aside from affecting their relationships with friends and family, there's a real risk of going bankrupt.

Since these players would want to spend more time wagering, there's a high chance of reduced productivity. In some cases, these gamblers lose their jobs because of their addiction.

Compulsive Gambler

A compulsive gambler cannot repress the need to gamble regardless of the consequences. Such individuals are ready to put anything on the line hoping to get something of even higher value. Even if there are no wins, a compulsive gambler continues to chase losses.

Due to the nature of the addiction, these individuals can resort to theft or fraud to satisfy their cravings. They suffer from mental stress and depression, especially if they're trying to hide their addiction. As you would expect, their families and friends suffer as a result of their addiction.

Binge Gambler

A binge gambler exhibits the same traits as a compulsive gambler, going to great lengths to gamble. However, unlike compulsive gamblers, these people only have the urge to gamble occasionally. As a result, they usually seem like they're controlling the situation.

Binge gamblers can go for several weeks and months without thinking about gambling. Unfortunately, the addictive part resurfaces when they begin gaming, and at that point, it becomes difficult to control their addiction. The episode might last a while, but they can return to their everyday life once it passes.

Signs of an Addicted Person

For unprepared people, it might be difficult to tell whether someone suffers from addiction. However, according to the American Psychiatric Association, a few signs are evident. Once you notice them, it's paramount to consider getting help from experts to stop the habit from developing further.

The following are signs you shouldn't ignore:

  • Increased love for betting: Players grow attached to the games and cannot go without wagering in gambling establishments for a day
  • Spending considerable amounts to gamble: Players want to bet all their money regardless of how much they have
  • Restlessness and anxiety: Players suffer from this when they stay away from betting, even when managing their habits
  • Unsuccessful attempts to quit gambling: Players make several attempts to stop betting, but the efforts are futile
  • Always thinking of betting: Players relive the previous experiences regularly and keep looking for ways to play again
  • Gambling anytime you're upset: Players on their way to an addiction use gambling as an outlet whenever they're angry or moody
  • Focusing on gambling rather than other aspects of life: These individuals prefer to gamble than socialise or partake in other activities
  • Lying to hide your habits: Players start trying to cover their gambling activities from others
  • Putting a meaningful relationship on the line for gambling: Players jeopardise their relationship just to wager on a game to the point of complete detachment from society
  • Depending on others for financial assistance: Players rely on financial support from others only to spend the money gambling

Disclaimer: Gambling addiction shares the same signs as other mental illnesses, so self-diagnosis and jumping to conclusions are unwise. When you notice these signs, it is best to consult a medical expert. Professionals can diagnose you and discuss these symptoms properly. Even if this turns out to be just a gambling problem, your specialist would advise you on the best course of action. Working with medical experts can help you overcome addiction faster than doing it alone.

What Causes Ludomania?

If you have concerns with gambling, there is help available: Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline 1-888-230-3505 CAMH: Child, Youth and Emerging Adult Service 416-535-8501, press 2 For additional resources and more information about this video, please go to:

While no one knows what causes ludomania, several factors could be behind the problem. Mental health concerns, like substance abuse, are possible causes. Others include the age when you began gambling and the size of your first wins. Even though there are no specific causes, experts have identified a few possibilities.

Biological Factors

Gambling disorder shares several characteristics with other forms of addiction, explaining why it's so common. Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that when people gamble and win, their brains react the same way as receiving a cocaine dose.

When a person has a gambling addiction, the insula, part of the brain that controls autonomic functions, may become overactive. This overactive area of the brain may cause distorted thinking. In most cases, this leads people to see patterns in random sequences and continue to gamble after near misses.

People’s brains may react to gambling in the same way that an alcoholic's brain reacts to alcohol. The more they feed their addiction, the worse it will get.

Psychological Factors

Mindset and emotional dispositions often play a crucial role in whether or not gambling becomes a problem. For example, many people believe that the so-called gambler's fallacy provides a rational basis for compulsive gambling habits. The gambler's fallacy is the idea that a series of unrelated events can lead to other events even though it’s just a coincidence.

From a logical standpoint, if you throw a coin three times and each time lands on tails, the probability of the next flip being the head is still 50%. In other words, the coin's outcome remains fair and constant. However, from the viewpoint of the gambler, the coin is more likely to land on heads in other flips. This is based on their judgement that past results were tails. Even though this has no scientific basis, it provides a premise that encourages gamblers to throw in further attempts, believing that their fortune must soon change. This may result in heavy losses.

Social Factors

Another probable cause of gambling addiction can be the societal influence. Frequent association with friends or family members who suffer from a gambling problem can increase individuals' chance of ending up with ludomania. Another well-identified social trigger for ludomania is stress. Prolonged periods of exposure to stress can increase gambling frequency and worsen its intensity. Stress or difficulties in one's personal or professional life may serve as a trigger for someone with a gambling problem.

In addition, ludomania can also result from long periods of social isolation or the inability to leave the house. During the pandemic lockdowns, online gambling rates soared at an alarming rate compared to pre-lockdown, with studies reporting regular gamblers were more likely to increase their gambling rates by sixfold.


Additionally, several risk factors contribute to the development of a gambling problem. Individuals with alcohol or drug addictions have a greater tendency for compulsive gambling. Numerous psychological disorders, including personality disorders, depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders, are also risk factors for gambling addiction.

Negative Effects of Gambling

The adverse effects of gambling affect your finances, health, and relationships. Here are some of the problems gambling addiction could cause:


Players fall into depression when they are on a losing streak and have no idea how to stop. In some cases, depression sets in after the thrilling feeling of betting.

Problem gamblers have a more challenging time dealing with this feeling when seeking help. Identifying this problem on time and taking measures to solve it is the best way to prevent this effect.

Frayed Relationships

If gambling leads to addiction, affected players do all they can to prevent their close members from learning of it. The effect of this is withdrawal from people that care most about them in a bid to hide their habits. Relatives and friends who know about this problem might get offended by this behaviour, which can strain the relationship later.

Heavy Debts

One thing that a gambler must always take note of is when to walk away with their losses. Some players believe that they would get a significant win at the end after losing for a while.

The problem with this theory is that gambling is a game of chance. So, you could lose as much as possible and still not win. In the long run, the player spends more than they can afford.

Less Focus on Other Activities

Players who have gone overboard with their gaming habits would want to keep reliving the thrill of gambling. As a result, they spend more time in an online gambling establishment than they would in other aspects of their lives. This could affect their interaction with other people and lead to job loss.

Is Gambling Addiction a Common Problem?

Gambling addiction is one of the most prevalent addiction problems worldwide. Around two million people in the United States are addicted to gambling. Approximately 1.2% of Americans become pathological gamblers, while another 1.5% develop gambling problems. The prevalence of these two disorders together is estimated to be around 5.5%. Out of these individuals, many reports that the habit significantly impairs their professional and social lives.

According to CCHS, Canadian Community Health Survey, 2% of Canadians aged 15 and older have a problem gambling. Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling research claims that 76-79% of adult Canadians engage in gambling. Additionally, 16-26% of adults in Ontario use casino slots, and 6-6.5% play casino table games.

In Ontario, the prevalence of people with gambling problems is between 0.4 and 0.8%. On the other hand, moderate risk gamblers are between 2.0 and 3.4%. While these numbers may sound small, there's a real possibility of increasing if there are no rules to help control their gambling.

Other points of note include:

  • Huang and Boyer discovered that children, particularly young males, are at a greater risk of developing an addiction
  • Lower-income families spend a disproportionate share of their income on gambling
  • A study states that individuals with secondary education have a 51% lower probability of developing gambling issues. This reduced tendency holds for those with a higher degree of education.

How to Get Over the Gambling Addiction?

Getting over a gambling addiction can be challenging but not impossible. First, you have to accept that you have a problem, then use the following to overcome the problem.

Join a Support Group

After identifying the issue, you might need assistance from a support group. Support groups are run by people who share similar experiences. While support groups lack expert interventions, people are incredibly welcoming and are free to join in person or through internet chat rooms.

Gamblers Anonymous is one group dedicated to the needs of those who have a gambling problem. The group follows the well-known 12-step format utilised by other support organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Postpone Gambling

As a gambler, you may experience desires to call your bookie, visit the casino, or engage in other gambling-related actions. Cravings are intense, and when you are experiencing one, it feels like it will never end. However, as long as you can hold off from gaming, you can deal with your addiction.

Avoid Temptation

While gambling is a temptation, viewing it as an addiction allows you to use addiction recovery and relapse prevention methods. Avoiding people, activities, and places associated with gambling can assist someone in recovery.

Therefore, if passing by a casino after work inspires gambling impulses, take a different route home. Consider watching something else if watching sports makes you want to wager on it. If going online makes you want to gamble, avoid the internet for a while.

How Do You Help Someone Cope with an Addiction?

It's not always easy to discern if a loved one has a gambling issue. Although we already mentioned some telltale signs, here is a brief reminder of warning symptoms:

  • The person begins to state or suggest that they might have a gambling problem
  • Borrowing money regularly for unknown purposes
  • Taking money or selling items that belong to someone else
  • Spending more and more time gambling despite unpaid bills or a lack of necessities like food

If you notice some of these signs, it's probably time to pay attention to them. These people may need assistance but are hesitant to ask for it or admit the full scope of the problem. It's critical not to appear judgmental or threatening to a friend or relative who has a gambling issue.

Family and friends of compulsive gamblers should educate themselves on approaching the issue. You must be supportive and ensure that you're not forcing the gambler to participate in the treatment process.

Never offer to pay off their gambling bills because doing so would enable their habit. Instead, you could aid them in finding financial counselling or other resources that could help them with their problems.

Generally, the best approach includes:

  • Being supportive and not judgemental
  • Paying close attention to them
  • Discussing ways to solve the problem and get past the challenges
  • Not helping them pay off their bills but assisting with essential needs

How to Assist a Person who Needs Medical Care

If the damage to finances and personal character is severe, suggest therapy. While there's no sure way to persuade someone to seek treatment, explaining how their gambling has affected their lives, and the lives of people around them can often help convince them. One has to be careful to avoid doing more harm than good when doing this.

One of the best ways to persuade a person to seek medical care is through an intervention. This is where close friends and family confront the compulsive gambler to express their displeasure with their actions. These members must find the best way to approach the person suffering from this condition.

Interventions should be positive and compassionate despite the worry and emotions that come with this process. These messages should never be aggressive or hostile. While family and loved ones can conduct interventions independently, it's best to get help from a trained therapist.

While these interventions are rarely effective in changing their behaviour, they can be pretty helpful in persuading someone to get further help. During these sessions, it's paramount to have family support and assistance from friends.

People concerned about the loved one's gambling activity might call helplines like the National Problem Gambling Network. They can also help by getting a specialist to handle the case when necessary. The best way to get addicted gamblers to seek medical help is by being supportive.

How to Prevent the Suicide of Problem Ludomans

According to a groundbreaking study, problem gamblers are six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or commit suicide. Even during therapy, there's still a risk of a suicide attempt. Such thinking results from other issues with addiction, like depression, substance use, and financial difficulties.

For people who have gambling problems, face-to-face or telephone counselling is the best alternative. Others may benefit from self-help techniques available on gambling aid websites. You can contact Ontario's Problem Gambling Helpline at 1.888.230.3505 for information on how to handle these cases.

Alternatives to Gambling

The adrenaline rush of playing casino games or betting on your favourite sports is hard to let go of. So, when dealing with addiction, you should find other activities to match the excitement. Here are some alternatives:

  • Gambling is exciting, so you can engage in challenging sports instead! Consider taking long walks, climbing rocks, car racing, and playing ice hockey
  • If you use gambling to kill boredom, you should find other activities that interest you. Try visiting the gallery, playing music, attending concerts, or reading books. Engaging in two or three extracurricular activities will also kill the urge to gamble
  • Players looking to make a fortune from this activity should reconsider. Instead, seek ways to handle debts with a credit card counsellor
  • If gambling was your way of being social, you could try other activities. Good examples include hanging out with family, joining public speaking groups, and engaging in voluntary work
  • Do you relax by gambling? Why not try some breathing exercises or go for a massage?

Myths & Facts about Ludomania

The following are a few beliefs and the facts about ludomania.

Myth: Gambling is only problematic if the gambler cannot afford their losses. In other words, a player with a massive fortune to spend can't develop gambling problems.

Fact: While financial problems are a strong side effect of gambling addiction, some people may have issues even without financial difficulties. It could, for example, be causing someone to disregard their work or relationships. In most cases, they forget to perform most of their everyday activities and can only think of the next game.

Myth: If people gamble infrequently, they can't be problem gamblers. The less a person gambles, the less likely he or she develops an addiction. On the other hand, a player who plays often is prone to become an addict.

Fact: Gamblers who gamble only on specific occasions may miss signs that their behaviour is becoming compulsive. However, wagering during these times meets the criteria for compulsive gambling. In other words, some people who bet occasionally could also be suffering from compulsive gambling.

Myth: Only weak-willed, reckless, or ignorant people can have a gambling issue. Strong individuals with a focus can never suffer from such a problem.

Fact: Gambling addiction affects people of various ages and backgrounds. Responsible and strong-willed people are as likely as anyone else to develop a gambling problem. It might only just be that it can take longer to identify the symptoms.

Myth: One way to assist a loved one with a gambling problem is to pay off their debts. Either that or assist them in resolving their financial difficulties.

Fact: Although it may be difficult for relatives and close friends to accept, paying off a gambling debt is counterproductive. Instead of resolving the issue, it gives them a sense of security if they run into financial difficulties again. This could prompt them to return to their habits and spend more money playing games or betting on sports.

Myth: Only irresponsible gamblers have gambling problems, and children can never develop this habit.

Fact: Addiction can develop in anyone, regardless of their level of responsibility. While gambling may lead to irresponsible behaviour, this does not mean the individual is generally irresponsible. It is a condition that results in a loss of control. Furthermore, young people have turned to online gambling in recent years, mainly due to mobile gaming. They can also be affected indirectly by a close family member who gambles.

Helping Resources for Gamblers

If you or a person you know may be suffering from a gambling addiction, numerous services are accessible to contact. Note that not every treatment option will work for everyone, and in some instances, multiple methods may be necessary.

The following are just some of the numerous organisations and services devoted to fighting against gambling addiction.

  • Gambling Therapy: This organisation aims to help gamblers find the best solution to their gambling problem. They have trained advisors and multilingual live support to attend to you. You can visit their website and for further information
  • Responsible Gambling Council: This is a renowned non-profit organisation that has served Canadians for over 35 years. They aim to prevent gambling addiction and assist gamblers in dealing with the situation. You can visit their website at or call +1 (416) 499-9800
  • Canadian Mental Health Association: The organisation opened its doors in 1952 and aimed to help individuals with their mental health. CMHA Ontario has 30 local branches in the community, so they're easily reachable. Players can visit or call +1 (800) 875-6213
  • Gambling, Gaming, and Technology Use: This is another organisation that helps gamblers suffering from an addiction. Through training, teaching, and the development of digital tools and resources, they assist in mental health development. You can visit their official website at