From Fun to Addiction: Understanding the Progression of Problem Gambling in Canada

For a long time problem, gambling has been a major concern to gamers in Canada. About two-thirds of the population aged 15 and up report having the issue. This has affected the gamers as most are unaware that they have the problem, and those who know are still in denial.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Gambling can be attractive to many because it brings about a social aspect, chances of winning big money and solving financial problems, kills boredom and escapes difficult emotions. The big question is, how does this turn from fun to addiction? What are the signs of the transition, and what effects does it bring?

Let us find out.

Impact of Gambling in Canada

While gambling might adversely affect gamers, it significantly contributes to Canada’s economy. According to statistics, the industry contributes up to about $ 9 billion in annual revenue. Besides this, it has been a major contributor to creating employment.

Gambling has brought new opportunities for game developers, graphic designers, website developers, game testers, etc. There has also been a great technological advancement, as seen in virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, and machine learning technology algorithms.

Gambling is also beneficial to the society. It enhances social interaction and creates valuable connections. Gamers meet and interact while playing games through live chats and calls during gaming sessions.

It also lowers illegal activities. When gaming is legal and regulated, it reduces the risk of money laundering and illegal gambling. It also serves as an alternative source of income. To top it all, it increases brain activity by releasing hormones that increase blood flow to the brain.

Stages of Gambling Behaviour Progression

Gambling progression happens in different stages, each with distinct features and characteristics. To begin with, it is the recreation phase. Here, you perceive it as a fun activity to kill boredom, interact with friends, and get extra cash. You work on a budget, so there is no financial risk. When losses happen, you accept and learn.

In this stage, you are excited by the various games available and engage with them  to experience the fun and learn about new skills

Secondly is at-risk gambling. At this stage, you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you are not gambling, feeling guilty or remorseful after gambling, getting defensive when talking about gambling, etc. You are also attracted to gaming most of the time and spend a lot of time at it.

Some of the factors that might contribute to this include:

  • Impulsivity is when you make decisions without considering the consequences.
  • Peer pressure influences from fellow peers where you want to be included.
  • Please analyze the risks associated with them and the impact they might have.
  • Influence of drugs and alcohol that impairs their judgment

After this stage, one is likely to find themselves in problem gambling. While legalized in most states, it remains a big disaster in Canada.

You may have problems controlling your gambling behaviour or stopping at this stage. You are also lured to gambling with large amounts to get the anticipated wins. This stage may cause serious negative effects, including bankruptcy, mental health issues, relationship problems, and even breaking the law.

Several factors lead to problem gambling, including the availability of bonuses and promotions. Some of them, such as free spins as casino incentives, attract and retain gamers. While they may be enticing and attractive, they may cause big financial problems and losses to the gamer. For instance, gamers may deposit huge sums of money to get bonuses and bet higher. With this, there is an increased risk of big losses.

Prevention and Intervention Strategies

Seeking ways to prevent and reduce the harm caused by gambling addiction is essential to Canada. Some of the prevention measures may include:

  1. Responsible playing: The gamer should control their gaming activity and make sound decisions regarding their gaming actions. For instance, setting a budget, playing while sober, knowing when to take breaks and stop, etc.
  2. Be aware of the warning signs that may indicate or alarm you once you are no longer in control.
  3. Availability of education materials and even campaigns that talk about problem gambling in detail.

Stay Safe and Free From Gambling Addiction!

While gambling is beneficial to the state’s economy and a big source of revenue, it should be closely monitored. Failure to do this may lead to adverse effects. The transition from fun to addiction gambling occurs in stages, and you should analyze each properly. It will help identify the issue before severe damage happens and find ways to counter it.