Gambling is undoubtedly very fun. It is a great way to release those stress hormones from your system and enjoy your time in a different reality. But, how long and how often till this turns into an addiction? Much often to disrupt your daily life and your financial status?

This fun activity ceases to be fun when it hampers your daily life. Marked by an absolute lack of control over gaming and gambling, problem gambling has ruined the lives of many. Players from the United Kingdom have an option to block themselves from UKGC registered casinos through programs such as Gamstop.

Launched in the year 2015, the Self Enrollment National Self Exclusion Scheme provides the perfect platform for punters to exercise self-exclusion from gambling. However, offshore casinos registered under the Malta Gaming Authority, Gambling Commission of Great Britain, Government of Gibraltar, etc. are still accessible to gamblers within the UK.

Video Games Can be Useful for Problem Gamblers

Quitting something that you enjoy can take a toll on you. The withdrawal feels the worst. Lapses are totally normal for punters who fail in taking control of their minds. Therefore, resorting to something that gives you an equal amount of pleasure as gambling did might be useful.

You can opt for video gaming which can be played without any looming threat to your financial status and mental health. This article is here to guide you through the tools and strategies you can use to fight gambling addiction. Try them out. 

A Guide To Getting Rid Of The Addictive Habits of Gambling

Once you have realized the dangerous effects of gambling, putting an immediate stop to it is a normal step. But, your brain is already a slave to the constant stimulus gambling used to give you. Thus, you might have to find activities to replace it or you might run the risk of sinking into depression, or a relapse of the addiction.

If you are unsure about the activities that can fill the void, here’s a list of things that will give you the same adrenaline push that gambling used to give you. The difference is – these will result in the growth of your personal and social identity. They are...

Self-Exclusion Tools

This is a traditional tried-and-tested method of getting you out of the addictive loop. Unlike alcohol consumption and other addictions, you can ban yourself from gambling. The self-exclusion schemes in the market help you get through the process conveniently.

There are various self-exclusion programs such as GamStop, and SpelPaus. They not only help you to effectively sign in to the self-exclusion program but also provide you support throughout the recovery process. Self-exclusion provides punters an immediate and effective tool for withdrawing oneself from indulging in gambling.

But, the problem is if a punter cannot control the urge, there are always other non GamStop casinos operating in the UK and accepting excluded GamStop members. Bet Blocker is an app that effectively blocks all the gambling-oriented content from your reach. You can install it on your smartphone or your computer.

Play Video Games Instead Of Gambling

Video games can be an easy escape to addicted punters. The internet is loaded with video games and any site would come with a great recommendation of top-tier video games. You can go for both PC and mobile video games. There are plenty of options to choose from and a whole new world to explore. 

Things You Should Avoid In Video Games

Replacing gambling with gaming should be a pretty good idea to avoid any gambling-related content. But there are certain things you should be aware of while video gaming. 

  1. Don’t play video games with loot boxes: Loot boxes can be found in video games. They contain some random elements whose worth is not fixed while you’re purchasing them. There might be some similarities between loot boxes and gambling which urges you not to resort to games having loot boxes.

  2. Don’t Spend Money For Games: Spending real money on games might trigger the urge in you to gamble. Thus, try to avoid making any real-money in-app purchases in gambling.

Engage In Other Activities Instead Of Gaming Or Gambling

  • A creative pursuit: In this pandemic, meeting new people and going to the gym is not a viable option. You have to make do with the resources available. Invest your free time in pursuing your creative dream. Be it maintaining a journal, doodling, or singing – find your own creative quirk. This will act as a huge optimistic influence on you!

  • Learn a new language: You can never go wrong with this one. It is never ever too late to learn a new language. 

  • Rekindle an old hobby: Whether it’s fishing or playing chess or juggling balls, pick up an old hobby that you had to leave because of time constraints. Or because you developed your interest in something totally different. Your old hobbies have a surprisingly weird habit of drawing you into them.

  • Start Exercising: Get that yoga mat and start doing indoor exercises. You can also go for a run early in the morning or engage in physical activities in your backyard. Release those endorphins and get back in shape if that’s what your summer goal has been. In simple words, get active and don’t let your mind and body sit idle.

The list can go on and on. It depends on what else you want to do that would give you the same amount of enjoyment as gambling did. Recognizing those activities is the difficult part but we are here to help you through it. You can also reach out to online communities that help problem gambling users to recover from their addiction.

What To Do If You Want To Continue Gambling?

There are a couple of things you could do if you feel the urge again: 

  1. Seek Gambling Addiction Therapy/Counselling

A person suffering from withdrawal symptoms might get irritable, upset, and will probably look for other ways to get back to it. This is why one might require extra support from professionals. The right treatment is of foremost importance in scenarios such as this.

Gamcare operates the National Gambling Helpline which can be accessed by UK players to seek free counselling. Trust the professionals and reach out for therapy if you’re having a tough time handling it by yourself. Professionals can identify your triggers, and provide you with sustainable ways to suppress your urge.

Therapists handling patients like these use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which will give you a better insight into the problem and help you change your thought process, your beliefs, your desire, and ultimately make you successful in quitting the habit.

Identifying what triggers you, and what drives you to gamble despite knowing the harm is important. That’s what counsellors focus on. It can be anything but identifying it will be the foremost concern of your therapist. That way you know the cause and its cure. So, you are better equipped to fight the temptation.

  1. Don’t be susceptible to gambling fallacies

Gambling, unlike other sources of addiction, depends on building a solid set of illusions which makes the punters think that they have control over their game outcomes. Ideas like – “Only if I play smart I’ll hit a big win” or “The wins come in a pattern” are dangerous. 

Most of the time, the casino will distribute daily or weekly rewards to you when you’re a new player and will slowly hook you to the system. But, that’s just what gambling does. It is not essentially evil till you let it disrupt your day-to-day life or cross your budget every time. 

Check out these myths about gambling which might be making it difficult for you to get rid of the habit.

  • “Wins come in a particular pattern/system”

A very strong illusion that punters often suffer from is the illusion of control. Our minds might be built to suspect patterns or similarities and to predict outcomes. But, trying to make sense of a game outcome is a dangerous practice of the mind. Especially when one of your predictions come true – it takes no time for it to turn into a belief that you have control over the system rather than believing that outcomes are rather random!

  • “I can win back my lost money if I risk a few more bets”

This is making the classic mistake of holding on to a false hope that gambling your luck with a few more bets will necessitate a win that will outsmart all your losses. Most casino games are designed to have a house edge. So, your hard-earned money is not coming to your pocket once it’s gone into the game. 

  • “Today’s my lucky day”

Again, a behaviour noticed in punters who hold on to false hope. The moment you start giving into this magical reality cleverly embedded in your head by the casino, you are in for a long-term disappointment.

These gambling myths set by the casino promise a sense of control over your game outcome whereas the outcome is decided randomly through the Random Number Generators (RNG). Adding to that, many games have house edges and that is a necessary obstacle to prevent punters from winning frequently.

Also, the wagering needs that are associated with every bonus, the promotional voucher is a pitfall that gamblers realize very late in the game.

Parting Thoughts

It is important to have clarity, commitment, and confidence in the fact that you are quitting gambling. Only then can you really make the correct use of the tools we provided? Remember to put yourself, your family, and your mental health before gambling. 

Question yourself about the fact that is gambling really worth it when it is costing you your financial status, the mental health of your family, and a lot of others. Experts strongly discourage you from taking up that thought. Gambling is nothing close to stability and peace.

It keeps you in a constant state of high which is thrilling only at the beginning. Even though the addiction has relapsed, you can still reach out to professionals. Remember that it’s never too late. 




* Article written in collaboration with our partner, IBG Media.