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Gambling Problems and Solutions During COVID-19

During the coronavirus crisis, it’s essential now more than ever to pay attention to our health. Nationwide, nearly 2 million American adults are estimated to struggle with problem gambling. Another 4-6 million U.S. adults are considered to have a mild to a moderate gambling problem. Just imagine that only one out of every 10 gamblers seek help, according to the information provided by the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling. This means that 90 percent of individuals keep struggling with gambling without resorting to professional help.

According to the latest research, The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to significantly influence gambling behaviors. Fear of disease, lost lives of relatives and friends, self-isolation, and other restrictions associated with COVID-19 have changed the daily lives of all people worldwide. Therefore, many of them find relief in gambling. While certain forms of it may be limited during the pandemic, internet gambling remains available, and Coronavirus-related stress may significantly increase engagement in it.

Source: CNBC.com

Today, online gambling has been increasing rapidly all over the world because many people are confined to their homes and have dramatic changes in working and psychosocial conditions. They face many triggers for gambling, such as loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression. The reasons for virtual gambling during the COVID-19 pandemic may also include its availability, relief from boredom, and escapism.

There are many options for people who decide to choose virtual gambling as a way to get rid of pandemic stress. They can select among various betting, poker, casino, and table games websites. For those who don’t want to spend much money at first, there are even casinos with free money no deposit, gamblizard.com is the one where you can find slot machines and table games. Such casinos can help you avoid big expenses and enjoy playing at home during the lockdown. They can also become a solution to decrease restlessness, monotony, and negative mood.

Source: National Review

Unfortunately, during the Coronavirus lockdown gambling may become a problem. For instance, if one has personal financial challenges, gambling may present serious issues. Many people have hard times at work due to the covid-19 situation, which leads to financial stresses. And financial stresses caused by the pandemic can be a temptation to use credit in order to chase some gambling losses.

Moreover, individuals may be tempted to think that they can easily make big money by gambling. They don’t realize that turning to gambling during the pandemic is not a reliable source of financial support because of the debt risks. In addition, debt can intensify feelings of hopelessness and vulnerability.

Taking into account that online gambling often makes it harder to keep track of how much money has been, particularly when using a credit card, it makes sense to somehow protect personal finances.

Source: University of Kent

And luckily, there are solutions for people experiencing financial hardship. For example, they can call the National Debt Helpline and get a range of resources or free financial counseling to help you sort out your issues with money.

Also, during the coronavirus pandemic, gambling preferences may shift to illegal online operators. This is quite dangerous for gamblers as they are at risk of losing a big amount of money. Hence, they should use only legal licensed platforms. Moreover, it would be better to set a time or money limit one wants to spend on the activity before beginning and stick to it.

Another type of gambling problem is a mental disorder. Those people who gamble excessively may feel anxious and depressed. Such conditions make sleeping, thinking, and solving everyday problems less manageable. If you suspect that gambling has caused chronic depression, check if you have the following symptoms: lost interest in usual activities, feeling hopeless, having increased irritability, experiencing difficulty remembering things, lost interest in sex, suicidal thoughts, slow thinking, change in sleep patterns, appetite or weight. Any of these things can be a sign of a mental disorder triggered by gambling.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Excessive gambling during the lockdown may also lead to increased suicide risk. It’s especially more likely among those people who have mental health problems, such as mentioned above. In this case, one must urgently turn for professional help. It’s very difficult to deal with problems alone, so people need someone for support.

In general, one of the easiest ways to find out if gambling has become a problem is to ask yourself if it is negatively impacting any area of your life, for instance, mental or physical health, career, relationship, finances, general well-being, sleep pattern, and so on. If you answer yes, then you probably need to find effective solutions for yourself.

Some powerful solutions during the pandemic include:

Source: New Straits Times
  • Reaching out for support to a family member or friend. If you simply confide in a trusted person that you have a problem, it can make you feel stronger and able to cope with it.
  • Finding an online mutual-help group, like Gamblers Anonymous. Just do online research or phone a support line.
  • Turning for help to a psychotherapist or addiction specialist that works via Skype.
  • Limiting screen time and distracting yourself with hobbies or activities that you enjoy.
  • Adding more structure to your life by creating a routine or daily schedule.
  • Avoiding isolation by spending time with loved ones or by speaking with them via video chat.
  • Making a reality check by imagining what happens after you lose in gambling and how this will make you feel.
  • Do holistic practices and wellness-based activities, such as meditating, exercising, eating a balanced diet, and getting proper sleep.

All this must help people who tend to gamble excessively feel better physically and mentally as well as reduce cravings.

Source: Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling

In general, to decrease the risk of gambling problems during the pandemic, people must be informed about the addictive potential of gambling. Now that stress and lockdown overlap, excessive gambling should be limited by legislators and policy-makers. People should be also given information by national or local authorities about treatment and support options in case of gambling addiction.