Responsible Gaming is when someone gambles for entertainment and gambling does not become an addiction.
Gambling is played responsibly when it does not take over important and serious matters, such as family, work and friends.
When a player exceeds that form of entertainment and does not control the way he/she plays, gambling becomes an addiction problem. This may result in Compulsive Gambling.
What is Compulsive gambling?
Gambling is a social event, which is sometimes used for fundraising or as a form of entertainment during social events.
The feeling of winning something, even if it's in small amounts, gives a player the pleasure and excitement to get involved.
The problem related to gambling starts when people get involved in these kind of activities in a way that it affects their life and the people around them in a negative way. It will no longer be considered a social activity,
but evolves into a serious gambling problem.
Preoccupation: A gambler constantly thinks about gambling and relives past experiences while planning the next gambling encounter.
Escalation: Wagering increasingly larger amounts of money to attain the desired "high" effect. This results in disassociation from reality.
Withdrawal: Multiple unsuccessful attempts to stop playing - are a warning sign of a disorder. The gambler will become restless, frustrated and angry during the periods when he/she tries to control or stop his/her gambling habits.
Escape: Gambling is used to make up for some loss or pain. Gambling can cause a rush of excitement which allows the person to escape from the numbness of the loss.
Chasing: Constantly trying to win back losses with more gambling.
Lying: To friends and family about the amount of time and money spent gambling, often resulting in guilt, which in turn, leads to additional gambling to relieve the same guilt.
Alienation: Becoming distant from family, friends and work because of gambling.
Tolerance: When the person becomes immune to the addiction and so he plays more to regain the gambling excitement.
Loss of control: The gambler cannot control the need to gamble and cannot stop playing.
Illegal acts: In order to get the money to gamble or pay back debts, the gambler will resort to illegal acts. This may include fraud, embezzlement, forgery or theft.
Bailout: The gambler asks his/her closest siblings and friends for money in order to continue playing.
Help offered to addictive gamblers
In Malta, three main centres offer services to treat the problem of Compulsive Gambling: