Gambling is more accessible than ever. You don’t have to leave your home to place bets. You can simply switch on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone, even your interactive TV. Online gambling is also available 24/7, which means you can keep betting long after the high-street bookmakers and casinos have closed their doors. Any type of gambling comes with a risk, but online gambling makes placing a bet as easy as checking your email. It’s more important than ever to understand how to stay safe when gambling.
For many people, gambling is not a harmful activity, but for some it can become a serious problem. If you are concerned that your gambling may be getting out of control, there are lots of things that you can do to make it more difficult to gamble, and there is help and support available to help you change your relationship with gambling for the better whenever you may need it.
The NHS offers a checklist to those who think they maybe have a gambling problem:
- Do you bet more than you can afford to lose?
- Do you need to gamble with larger amounts of money to get the same feeling?
- Have you tried to win back money you have lost (chasing losses)?
- Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get money to gamble?
- Have you wondered whether you have a problem with gambling?
- Has your gambling caused you any health problems, including feelings of stress or anxiety?
- Have other people criticised your betting or told you that you had a gambling problem (regardless of whether or not you thought it was true)?
- Has your gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
- Have you ever felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?
0 each time you answer “never”
1 each time you answer “sometimes”
2 each time you answer “most of the time”
3 for each time you answer “almost always”
If your total score is 8 or higher, you may be a problem gambler.