Problem gambling can strike anyone, however there are some people who are more at risk than others. This can be due to many reasons, and we’ve listed them below. Remember this though: don’t think that you can’t become addicted to gambling because you don’t fit with one of the profiles below – anyone can become addicted, therefore all gamblers must always remain vigilant.
Here are the cross-sections of society who are more predisposed to gambling problems:
Men. Men have a higher chance of becoming addicted to gambling than women, although the split is closing. This is because more women are starting to gamble online. Men generally take longer to become addicted to gambling online, however they also start gambling earlier in life.
Younger people. The younger a person is, the more likely they are to develop a gambling addiction. Those who start gambling during their teenage years are at the most risk of developing an addiction. Those starting to gamble later in life can still develop problems though.
Mental health sufferers. Mental health problems can make it more likely for a person to develop an addiction. Problems such as ADHD, anxiety or depression all have their own unique ways of contributing to addiction. Problem gambling can also cause these problems to worsen, making gambling addiction even more difficult.
While there is no sure-fire way to prevent the development of a gambling problem, there are certain precautions one can take when gambling in order to minimise the risks of developing bad gambling habits.
Manage your gambling time so that it doesn’t interfere with other activities, such as family time
Draw up a budget and stick to it – prevent being able to spend more than you can afford by carefully managing your bankroll
Understand that gambling is for recreation and not a reliable source of income
Do not gamble if you are feeling anxious or depressed
If you feel like you may be developing a gambling problem talk to someone you trust
Coming to the realisation that you have a gambling problem can be extremely distressing, however, there is help out there. Many fantastic organizations are around to support those in the UK with a gambling addiction, and many of them are completely free.