Gambling is one of the most popular forms of entertainment, particularly online. Despite its popularity, there is still a lot of concern regarding the effect gambling has on people’s mental health and just how harmful online gambling can be. If you’re interested in learning more about how harmful gambling can be, whether there are any positive effects of gambling, and how you can keep yourself safe, keep reading on.
What Are The Negative Effects Of Gambling?
While online gambling is safe for the most part, there is a risk of developing an addiction. Gambling addictions are incredibly common, and while most people can gamble without any issues, many people can develop addictions that affect their finances and mental health and can affect those around them.
GamCare, a charity that provides gamers with information and support for all things gambling, states via research from the Royal College of Psychiatrists that problem gamblers are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem, develop stress-related disorders, suffer from anxiety, have poor sleep and a lower appetite, and suffer from depression. If untreated, gambling addiction can become even more serious.
In addition to negatively impacting mental health, gambling addiction can also impact a person’s finances, which can lead to further mental health complications. Financial issues can occur as those suffering from gambling-related harm chase losses and spend more. This can effectively lead to an accumulation of debt, bills not getting paid, credit cards getting maxed, and more. Things can get even worse with a court summons for non-paid debts or home repossessions.
Gambling addictions can cause severe issues, as we’ve explained above, but the majority of gambling websites in the United Kingdom have stepped up their safer gambling initiatives to help protect customers. You can find more information on how all of this works and how you can stay safe while gambling further down this page.
Are There Any Benefits Of Gambling?
Now, while gambling does have some devastating effects if an addiction forms, there are some benefits to gambling online. For example, a study by the Behavior Analysis and Therapy Program at Southern Illinois University found that gambling can positively improve moods and cause happiness, with people who actively gambled as part of their hobby being happier than those who didn’t. The study also found that the level of happiness when gambling was higher than with those who watched television or another form of entertainment.
In addition to boosting happiness, several studies have shown that gambling can help improve mental capabilities as gambling requires players to remain vigilant, study patterns and numbers, and recognise and employ various strategies and tactics at the right moment to try to win.
Some online games, such as live casino or bingo rooms, can also boost your socialisation, as they offer chances for you to meet with real people online, talk with them, and potentially even strike friendships with them!
How To Keep Yourself Safe When Gambling
Thankfully, most licensed online casinos in the UK offer a range of services to help keep you safe and protected, as required by the UK Gambling Commission – the body that’s responsible for regulating all things gambling. Websites like Sister Sites can help you find licensed casinos, and registering with them will guarantee that you’re provided with most if not all of the tools to help you stay safe while gambling online.
For example, most online casinos now allow you to set deposit, time, and loss limits across a select period of time, including daily, weekly or monthly. These tools will essentially limit how much you can deposit, how much money you can lose, and how much time you spend over the selected period of time. This is a great way of keeping your gambling behaviour in check and can help prevent addictions or any harm from gambling from taking place.
Alongside the above, some online casinos in the UK also allow you to enable lock withdrawals. Normally, users at an online casino can reverse or cancel a withdrawal if they feel the processing time takes too long, allowing them to play with their funds once the withdrawal has been cancelled. Unfortunately, this has led many users to reverse their withdrawals and then lose their winnings. Lock withdrawals can stop this, as it prevents you or the casino’s customer support from reversing or cancelling withdrawals once they’ve been requested.
Finally, all licensed UK online casinos are required by the UK Gambling Commission to sign up with GAMSTOP, a self-exclusion service that allows users to self-exclude themselves from all gambling websites in the UK for a designated period of time. Gambling operators that do not participate in the GAMSTOP scheme have had their licenses suspended, preventing them from operating in the UK.
Gamban is a similar service that allows you to block online gambling websites from all of your devices. Unlike with GAMSTOP, operators in the UK aren’t required to work with Gamban to protect customers and help block users from accessing gambling websites.
All of these tools and services help keep you protected and safe while gambling online, which is hugely important. Most licensed casinos also have designated help and support pages, which you can use to contact professionals if you feel you’re suffering from gambling-related harm.
So Is Gambling Harmful To Your Health?
Gambling can be incredibly harmful to your health. Although most people will be able to gamble without any issue, addictions and other harmful behaviour can develop. This is why it’s important to control or regulate your gambling. Luckily, most online casinos in the UK offer tools to help you if you ever feel yourself struggling with your gambling behaviour.
If you are thinking of gambling online, it’s important to register with a website licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (If you’re in the UK – if not, check whether the operator is licensed by your country’s regulator).