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Daniel King

Gambling Addiction in Canada: Specifics You’ll Need to Know as a Gambler

Author: Daniel King | Posted on: 2021-05-28 | Last updated on: 2023-03-13

Gambling addiction is a disorder that’s affecting gamblers resident in Canada and other jurisdictions. Here, what a person considers a fun activity now turns to an obsession with negative repercussions.

Gamblers who are addicted to placing wagers might suffer from unhealthy relationships, stunted job performance, and financial hardships. But, do you know what’s worse? These individuals, sometimes, resort to stealing or taking astronomic loans to accentuate their gambling lifestyle.

However, it’s difficult to deny the thrill and immersive experience that gambling accords Canadians. That said, suggesting a ban on all wagering-related activities might not be the best way to curb gambling addiction in Canada.

Therefore, you’ll have to make concerted efforts to ensure that you gamble responsibly at all times. The subsequent paragraphs provide a deep insight into the problem, explain its symptoms, and suggest proven treatment methods.

What Is Gambling Addiction?

gambling addiction

The widely accepted gambling addiction definition is a recurrent display of problematic gambling behaviour. An individual with a gambling disorder might find it difficult to control the urge to gamble at any given time. In other words, people with this disorder don’t care if they win or lose; they want to satisfy themselves by gambling.

It’s easy to liken an addicted gambler to a drunk. Why? These individuals feel restless until they’ve satisfied their cravings. Consequently, using any method available to meet their urges, they’re less concerned about the negative aftermath.

While regular Canucks might place wagers just for the fun and excitement it provides, addicted players take it a notch further by placing bets solely for the sedative and numbing effect that follows suit.

There are various levels inherent in casino gambling addiction. Depending on the level, a gambler might show some form of restraint and exhibit critical thinking. However, others might not heed advice as they’ll always place bets with every chance they get. These differences in reasoning capabilities lead to the categorization of this disorder into three categories:

Problem Gambling

Popularly referred to as the “Genesis” of the gambling disorder, this phase commences when gambling has become “problematic” to a gambler and other individuals.

Such persons are incapable of gambling responsibly. Thus, while they aren’t in the “most chronic” gambler set, they aren’t sane either.

Going forward, professionals believe that problem gambling is the first step into a “worst as you go” sequence. To nip this nagging problem from the roots, you’ll have to seek help from seasoned therapists.

Binge Gambling

Individuals that engage in binge gambling might take occasional breaks that can span weeks. Sometimes, an observer might be confused as to whether that person is genuinely suffering from an addiction.

Although this sounds great, binge gamblers have that short “streak” of sanity when they aren’t gambling. However, once they head into any wagering platform, they tend to lose control and go overboard with all their decisions.

Typically, binge gambling is hugely associated with individuals that are trying to quit gambling. But, unfortunately, while they might fight the gambling addiction for a while, they still go “all in” after some time.

Compulsive Gambling

Compulsive gambling is the most chronic at any casino. It’s also considered the abyss of gambling addiction. With abysses likened to pits, they’re easier to fall into than climb out, even if you’re willing to make deliberate efforts.

Here, the compulsive gambler deliberately refuses to accept the fact that they’re suffering from an addiction. Yet, interestingly, these players still showcase behaviour that screams gambling addiction in Canada. This gambler set makes the most illogical of decisions while satisfying their craving.

Overall, you can say that gambling is a physiological need for the compulsive gambler.

Gambling Addiction in Numbers: Where Does Canada Rank?

If you’re suffering from a gambling habit, you’re not alone. Gambling is a global phenomenon, and so is its addiction.

As things stand, over 50% of the world’s population gambles. However, the number of players that are addicted to gambling remains unclear as a result of insufficient research.

However, we have the gambling addiction statistics for Canada and other countries:

  • USA: Top of the list. 2.6% of the entire population is addicted to gambling. That’s about 10 million Americans.
  • UK: The UK spends about 1.2 billion pounds on gambling addiction per year. Here, 0.6% to 1.1% of the adult populace have a gambling problem.
  • Norway: Gambling is highly regulated in Norway, yet about 0.7% of their populace are chronic gamblers.
  • Canada: Does it startle you that ¼ of the population has had at least one negative experience (depression, job loss, marriage problems) due to gambling? This disorder affects millions of Canadians.

How Gambling Addiction Starts: Is It Genetic or Just Another Delusion?

One thing about addictions is that they’re eventually noticed in the long run, no matter how hard you try to conceal them. That said, it might take a while to discover whether or not a gambler is addicted.

Why? Unlike alcohol and drugs that provide physical evidence, gambling has become so sophisticated that individuals can place wagers on their phones without anyone having a clue.

While there’s always an option to seek help, people with gambling addictions rarely tow that path. What’s worse? You might never realize that you’re addicted until it’s too late.

Therefore, it would be a welcome development if you knew the signs of gambling addiction. In addition, you can help a close friend or relative as soon as you get a hint of the following symptoms:

  1. You Want to Keep Your Gambling Secret If you’re into casino gambling and see the clear signs of an impending addiction, you tend to enter your “self-defence” mode. Here, instead of admitting your wrong, you lie to others or continue gambling in secret. While this isn’t acceptable behaviour, most gamblers engage in it because they’re scared of individuals being overly critical of them.
  2. You Cannot Control Your Gambling The most recognizable symptom of gambling addiction is the inability to walk away even when you’ve incurred losses. These gamblers believe that placing more wagers would replenish their lost bets. But, unfortunately, more times than not, this isn’t the case, and they’re left to rue their losses long-term. Always ask yourself if you can halt gambling even when you’re on a winning streak.
  3. You Gamble Even When Without Money Although this symptom is somewhat reminiscent of the one above, it’s not. Here, the gambler has no limit when bets are being placed. No matter how much money they lose, they don’t care and might even use money meant for their family’s upkeep to gamble. In dire circumstances, they might source out loans that feature astronomic interest rates. As long as they keep playing, they don’t care about the negative financial repercussions.
  4. You Have Loved ones Worried One key reason gambling addiction online carries on for a long time is the typical denial among affected individuals. Here, gamblers tend to justify their decisions by turning down help from friends and family. But, the truth is, if you fail to seek help from your closest friends and relatives, you become more and more intertwined into the web of gambling.

Is Gambling Addiction Genetic?

We can’t give definitive answers as research to ascertain this fact came back sparse and inconclusive. Therefore, giving the “yes or no” answer doesn’t change work for this nagging question.

However, we’ve found a few pieces to the puzzle. For example, a University of Iowa study reported that compulsive gamblers might have inherited their gambling addiction.

The results inherent in this report suggests that there’s a clear link between gambling addictions and cognitive problems, including severe anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Another study conducted by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the University of Missouri led to a follow-up from the UK National Health Service (NHS).

This rejoinder claimed that same-sex monozygotic (identical) twins had a 49% possibility of becoming pathological gamblers. On the other hand, their dizygotic (non-identical) counterparts had just 21%. However, this report has been retired, suggesting that the results were incorrect or inconclusive.

That said, it’s practically impossible to ascertain whether or not gambling addictions are gene-related. However, it’s a possibility that teenagers during their formative years may have been exposed to the thrills and effects of gambling by some influential characters in their lives.

While this might not be deliberate, it’s vital to understand that the average child is curious. Consequently, unless there’s a dramatic change in proceedings by these figures, these kids might follow their lead to become chronic gamblers at the latter stages of their lives.

The essence of this suggestion is that while genes may not be a conductor for gambling addiction, close association with an addicted gambler may set a child on the same path early in life.

Gambler’s Delusion: What Do They Think That Deprives Them of Realizing Their Disorder?

Here, gamblers have so much faith in their wagering activities that they find it difficult to acknowledge their gambling addiction. However, while some Canucks can identify these delusions clearly, others are left whiling away in their fantasies.

This concept believes that the outcomes of some events will affect the outcome of another occasion, while the results of these events are independent in reality.

Gamblers who key into this fallacy are deceived into thinking they can’t make losses as there’s always a jackpot lurking at the corner. But, here, they’re optimistic about hitting it big despite making an enormous amount of losses.

Gamblers call this occurrence “the losing streak,” which they believe will lead to a huge win. A classic example of this slot machine addiction is a player who’s lost seven deals of keno but refuses to stop because they think that these losses will make the eleventh trial a win.

Although it’s clear that gaming outcomes are entirely random due to the presence of a Random Number Generator (RNG) present on all slots, gamblers refuse to believe otherwise.

The gambler’s fallacy is a dangerous belief. People with gambling experience can testify to this, even if they aren’t addicted.

What Can You Do to Prevent Developing Gambling Addiction?

First off, understand that the prevention of addictive gambling may not be easy if you’re already on the path.

However, this understanding should include knowing that treating the disorder after it’s developed is incredibly more difficult. Consequently, it’s crucial to follow these tips to tow the path of responsible gambling.

Set Spending Limits Before Playing

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the immersive ambience of Las Vegas casinos, making it daunting to establish self-control. However, with adequate planning, you can nullify this response in its entirety.

If you’re looking to limit your spending, visit physical casinos with your wallet only. So, bank cards shouldn’t accompany you to any casino as you possess physical cash for gambling.

Also, ensure you leave valuable jewelry at home or hand them to a trusted person. Why? You can get so inclined and exchange them for money. With all these steps carried out to the latter, you’re out of the league of addicted gamblers.

However, if you encourage your gambling addiction online, these tips may not work. So, you’ll have to do all your gambling on one e-wallet. Load a payment app only with the cash for gambling, and start having all the fun in the world using only that wallet.

Fix Time Limits

Effective time management is a crucial strategy for preventing addictive gambling. However, this strategy only works if you’ve cultivated the ability to regulate the time you spend gambling. To start, plan your visit before starting.

Set a series of alarms to remind you of the time to leave. Make this strategy more effective by fixing an appointment with a friend who knows where you’re headed. Here, you can ask them to pick you up at a specific time.

Play for the Thrill

Gambling is not a platform to become rich, so you must never approach the casino with such a mindset. Canadians with healthy gambling habits realize this fact and play purely for the thrill. So, always expect to lose cash that you’ve invested in a casino offering.

The refusal to accept losses is what spurs a gambler to continue playing until they are totally out of cash yet fail to stop playing.

Avoid chasing your losses and know when to determine if the game is still entertaining. Leave once you realize that you are not having fun anymore.

Understand That You Cannot Predict or Control Outcomes

An addicted gambler is deluded into thinking that they can predict the outcome of games. Avoid falling for the gambler’s fallacy by realizing that you cannot establish a win through losses.

With Random Number Generators in the mix, the outcomes of all casino games are entirely random. Therefore, it would be wise to recognize that the result doesn’t depend on you or your wager value.

Finding Help for your Gambling Addiction: Is This a Possibility?

Treating addictive gambling is a long, challenging process. You may liken the struggle to victory as a journey through the arid Savannah desert. Therefore, you’ll need to accept gambling addiction help from professionals and loved ones.

There are two sources of help for an addictive gambler: loved ones and psychological experts. Both means can help to improve underlying conditions, such as PTSD, depression, and chronic anxiety. You can seek many suggestions to stop gambling, including:

  • Finding alternative ways to have fun
  • Devoting time to a healthier activity
  • Paying more attention to your work relationships

These tips are all practical, but the real battle lies in your head. You’ll need the love of friends and family and the guidance of individuals or groups built for this purpose.

Fortunately, finding gambling addiction help is easy worldwide. Here’s a list of confidential and standby support lines to call in Canada:

  1. Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission Helpline: 1-866-332-2322
  2. British Columbia ¬ Problem Gambling Information and Referral Service: 1-888-795-6111
  3. Manitoba Gambling Helpline: 1-800-463-1554
  4. New Brunswick Problem Gamblers Hotline: 1-800-461-1234
  5. Newfoundland and Labrador Helpline: 1-888-899-4357
  6. Nova Scotia Toll-Free Gambling Helpline: 1-888-347-8888
  7. Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Helpline: 1-800-265-3333
  8. Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-888-230-3505
  9. Prince Edward Island Gambling Addiction Treatment Program: 1-888-299-8399
  10. Québec – Gambling Help and Referral: (514) 527-0140 Montreal and surrounding area 1-800-461-0140 and 1-866-767-5389 throughout the province
  11. Saskatchewan Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-306-6789