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How Long is too Long When it comes to Online Gambling?

How Long is too Long When it comes to Online Gambling?

Over the last two decades, our gambling habits have been transformed beyond belief. If you were to tell a brick and mortar casino pit boss in the 1990’s that in 20 years’ time the UK consumer market for online gambling would have an estimate of £1.9 billion they would probably struggle to comprehend it. Back in the late 1990s was when online gambling’s popularity really started to gain momentum, with the introduction of using the internet for entertainment in your own home was new and exciting. The increase in internet gambling in astounding when you look at how rapidly its popularity grew, from a miniscule 15 online gaming websites in 1996, which increased to over 200 in 1997. In 1998 the very first online poker rooms were introduced to online gambling websites, and the gambling world was never the same again. In the wake of gambling regulations becoming tighter with a focus on how casinos promote themselves, the question on a lot of people’s minds is just how long is too long to gamble online? Providers have a duty to encourage responsible gambling and there are steps that players can take to ensure they aren’t spending too much time gambling, but it can be a tough question to answer with such a diverse range of players.  

What’s Normal? 

In our world of conveniences shaped and developed by technology, online gambling is extremely accessible, with a lot of online slots being played on mobile phones and tablets. The question of what is a ‘normal’ amount of time to spend online gamble is a loaded question and is very tricky to answer. It is all subjective as one person could spend a certain amount of time gambling and this could be just the right amount of time, having no impact on their social, work or family life. Whereas another person could spend the exact same amount of time gambling, but it could be too much as affect other parts of their life and have a negative impact.  

When Gambling can be Bad for You 

The most obvious reason is that spending too much time gambling could end up costing you a lot of money and often money that you can’t afford if your gambling becomes compulsive. Having said that, you don’t have to squander your life savings away for your relationship with gambling to be an unhealthy one. Gambling is designed to be fun, social and competitive so if you gamble too much this could take away the enjoyment from the game as well as isolate you from your family and friends, which can have disastrous consequences on your life and your wellbeing. 

Because of its accessibility, addiction therapists have seen an increase in gambling problems, as well as a much broader spectrum of individuals with gambling problems. Studies have shown that online gambling has given people private access to a product and service that they may not have previously been comfortable trying in a public casino or with their friends. Because you no longer need to leave your living room couch to gamble, it is so easy to spend too much time online gambling. Unlike going to a casino, you can do it in the office on your lunch break, on train on the commute home or pretty much anywhere you can get an internet connection. For the large majority if gamers, this is fantastic and is a great way to unwind and pass the time, but all gamers should take time to evaluate their gambling behaviour and as themselves if their habits are healthy.  

Gambling and it’s Impact on Seniors 

Senior members of the public are among those who have an increased risk of developing unhealthy relationships with gambling. There are lot of factors that can contribute to this increased risk that are unique to seniors such as having more disposable income as well as increased time on their hands in their retirement. On the flipside of this, not all seniors benefit from an increase in disposable income with some seniors struggling financially when they are no longer employed and do not have a handsome retirement budget. This can make gambling appealing but can also make gambling losses have a seriously negative impact on their lives. Loneliness and major life changes can also be motivational factors for seniors, especially if they lose friends and family members who they used to spend their time with. If a senior person you know has an unhealthy relationship with gambling, try asking them about what they do in their spare time and opening a conversation about gambling. Lots of seniors don’t even know that there are services available to them to help them, so it’s good to let them know that there are lots of confidential support available for them if should they need it.  

In moderation and within limits gambling can be an excellent form of entertainment and can help to keep the mind active and online gambling especially can be brilliant for seniors and those who are less mobile and can’t always go to casinos or bingo halls as they used to. It’s all about balance and ensuring gambling is always fun and sociable. 

Get a Healthy Balance 

Gambling for most people who aren’t professional players should be a small part of their free time and shouldn’t impede on their family life, relationships work commitments or their social life. Like most things in life, getting a healthy balance right is the key, so if you are noticing that you are missing work, maybe showing up late or calling in sick because you’ve had a late night due to online gambling, this is a red flag. There is been countless relationships and families that have been negatively impacted by online gambling. If you are starting to cancel plans with friends or family or distancing yourself from your loved ones and filling that time with online gambling alone, this is another indication that there isn’t a healthy.