Some Answers to Your Questions About Gambling Addiction

How Do I Know If I Have A Gambling Addiction?
You will know if you have a gambling addiction if gambling has affected your life negatively socially, emotionally, financially and spiritually. If you have gambled alone, and have missed work, lost more than you could afford, or lied about gambling, you more than likely have a gambling addiction. “Compulsive Gambling” is considered an impulse control disorder and is characterized by unstoppable thoughts and uncontrollable impulses to gamble. “Problem Gambling” is considered less severe than compulsive gambling, but it is still a very serious problem.

Someone in my family is addicted to gambling. What should I do?
There are many paths you could take when a family member is addicted to gambling. You can go to a gamanon meeting yourself to get 12 -Step support from other family members of gamblers.(Check links and resources). This might be a good first step in finding out how to approach your family member, since every situation is different. Please check resources page for more information on this topic.

I have a gambling addiction and I have lost a lot of money. I am in debt, and I do not know what to do. Can you help?
Going into debt is one of the biggest after-effects of a gambling addiction. It can effect the gambler long after he or she stops gambling and is one of the long-term consequences of gambling addiction. When you attend a Gamblers Anonymous 12-Step Group you can find support from trusted members on how to deal with your debt problems. Please also visit the links and resources page to find out more about debt and credit solutions as a result of your gambling addiction. Remember, gambling addiction is not a money problem.. it is an emotional and spiritual problem with financial consequences.

Can I have a gambling addiction if I go to the casino.. but mostly win?
Yes. There are 4 phases of a gambling addiction. 1. Winning Phase: Usually starts with a big win and a belief that good luck will continue indefinitely. 2. Losing Phase: More pre-occupied with gambling. You are gambling alone, missing work, lying about your whereabouts, and beginning to chase your losses. 3. Desperation Phase: This is truly characterized by a loss of control, preoccupation with gambling, defaulting on most debt, cheating or stealing,loss of job or primary relationship. 4. Hopeless Phase: You hit rock bottom. You may also start abusing drugs or alcohol. Suicide thoughts and attempts are common in this phase.

I gamble when I am lonely and depressed. How come?
You are most likely known as an “escape gambler” You gamble to escape emotional pain. Most “escape gamblers” can become addicted to slot machines, online gambling, and bingo. An “action gambler” is someone who enjoys risk taking and gambles on games of skill such as sports betting, the stock market, and cards. “Action-gamblers” have been traditionally male, however, the genders are becoming well represented in each group.

US Students Are Ignoring Online Gambling Prohibition

Several new studies show that college students are flocking to online gambling websites in record numbers. The studies show a 12% increase in college students that participate in online gambling from two years ago. The unlawful Internet gambling enforcement act (UIGEA) was passed and became law in October 2006 by the government to curb the online gambling. But the UIGEA not deterred online gambling, but in fact has actually increased the Internet gambling activity.

The US is considered the top Internet gambling market in the world and now high school and college age students ages 14 to 22 are getting into the act. One of the studies was conducted by the Annenberg adolescent communication Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. This telephone study found that in college aged males 16% admitted to gambling online that figure is up from 4.4% in 2008. High school students who gamble online on a monthly basis were up from 2.7% to 6.2%. Of the participants virtually none admitted to weekly online gambling.

The woman in the study showed a significant jump in online gambling participation with high school females that gamble online monthly jumping from 0.5% to 1.5%. Women have been the driving force behind the explosion in poker in the US.

Online poker players have been lobbying the US Congress to repeal the current UIGEA law. The new bill passed the House Financial Services Committee, but doesn’t look like it will be voted on by the full house before the end of the year. With no vote this year a new bill have to be introduced in 2011. The idea of regulating online casinos and poker rooms has many politicians including it in their campaigns. Hoping that this will help many states increase tax revenue and help balance the state’s budget.

As a result of these studies it is projected that 400,000 college aged persons and 500,000 high school students gamble online at least once a month.

Online gambling first appeared on the internet in the mid 1990s. In 1994 Microgaming software was founded and still has the corner market today in many of the online casinos. Microgaming is chip software that runs the various machines found in land and online casinos. There is some debate as to who was the first casino to pop up on the internet and most would say InterCasino first appeared in 1996. However; there are others who claim that Microgaming’s Gaming Club was the first online in 1995.

From the first casino to go live on the internet, casinos continue to improve their operations online and tweak the software, servers and connections that cater to the players on the World Wide Web. Regardless of slow bandwidth causing connection problems for the players, the industry still raked in an estimated $834 million in 1998.

Intertops was the first online sports-book to appear in 1996; however they have been in operation long before that by taking phone bets since 1983. Intertops is still going strong today and is satisfying over 180 countries with their service.

Online poker first sprang up at the start of 1998 and was facilitated by Planet Poker. Following suit was Paradise Poker in 1999, Party Poker and Poker Stars in 2001. Planet Poker is still in operation; however they no longer allow real money to exchange hands. By 2008 Party Poker had lost the lead in the industry to Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker, estimated by the number of players online.

The popularity of online gambling does not seem to be decreasing since its birth. With state of the art technology, online casinos have the ability of offering real time play and instant spin capability, thus satisfying all sectors of the gambling industry and increasing revenue. The casino software available today is not only advanced for the players utmost enjoyment but is completely secure.

In 2010 the online gambling industry grew by 12.5% with gross revenues of close to $29.95 billion, regardless of the perceived recession. The online casino sector grew an estimated 13.3% in 2010 and brought in an estimated $2.67 billion. The most money contributing to the gambling revenue online is generated by sports betting at about $12 billion.

Online bingo stole the lead in being the fastest growing sector for 2010, estimated at 28.4% growth and to the tune of $2.67 billion. Although poker is the most talked about, it was deemed the slowest growing online gambling sector which generated about $5 million.

In 2006 many of the online gambling companies decided not to allow USA players spend money in their establishments anymore due to the uncertainty regarding laws of offshore gambling, following the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. There was a great debate regarding different states that were legally able to gamble and those who were not. Many of the casinos revised their policies regarding USA play since that time and now the majority of online gambling establishments will again accept USA players.

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