Gambling is a serious addiction for some people. Problems and addictions to gambling have been a concern in the public health field for several years. Internationally, gambling problems range from .2 percent to 2.3 percent of the population (Gainsbury, 2014, p. 769). However, these rates are starting to increase due to the development of technology and the introduction of more and more gambling games. It is estimated that these rates have grown 1-5 percent since the development of Internet gambling (Chappell, 2014). Also, electronic gambling machines where developed making it very easy and quick for an individual to gamble. These games are also very fun and challenging for the average person making them very addicting. The expansion of the Internet has made gambling disorders a very difficult problem to beat.
It has been studied and concluded that drug addiction and gambling addictions are much similar than previously believed. Research has shown that pathological gamblers and drug addicts share many of the same genetic makeup as one another and are predisposed for impulsivity and reward seeking. Furthermore, both drug addicts and pathological gamblers suffer from withdraws of the reward when they are separated from it. Evidence has also shown that gambling and drugs affect change the chemical balance of the brain in the same way. This has lead researchers to reexamine the definition on what exactly an addiction is. It was once believed that an addiction was a dependency on a chemical. It is now believed that an addiction is a dependency on a rewarding experience. Whether that experience be getting drunk or high or the thrill of winning money at a casino. It is the experience that one is addicted to, not the substance itself (Jabr, 2013).
Gambling prevention programs have been introduced and developed throughout the country. Giving support to those with addiction problems. These programs were developed in order to lower the level of hazardous gambling that leads to individual and societal harm. Individuals who are considered “problem gamblers” tend to experience more mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, as well as substance abuse problems. Although excessive gambling can lead to severe negative consequences, only 10 percent of problem gamblers seek professional help (Gainsbury, 2014, p. 774). Several studies have pointed out that most problem gamblers start and continue their gambling addiction due to an onset. These consist of the change or a critical aspect of their lives; their relationships, health or money to name a few. Also, a loss of their self tends to trigger gambling addictions. This can be set off by the individual losing their job (Reith & Dobbie, 2014, p. 516). These types of individuals need outlets to turn to at all times of the night. Placing addiction centers in casinos give these individuals another outlet to take rather than gambling and feeding on their addiction.
Gambling is defined as a mental health condition that makes limited gambling experiences difficult. It is classified by chasing loses or lying about excessive gambling. It also is characterized by the negative consequences that it may lead to (Gainsbury, 2014, p. 769).
Nongamblers are any individuals who have not participated in gambling activities in the past 12 months (Reith & Dobbie, 2012, p. 516).
Wait lists are defined as a “queue of patients who are deemed to needs a health service that is in short supply relative to demand or the function both or whether prospective patients can get into the queue and how quickly they get off the queue and into treatment” (Pascoe, 2013).
Lack of support
Some people need help at a certain time and such help is not available. Hotlines are not always open, support groups are not always available and sponsors are not always awake. However, casinos are always open. This often times will lead an addict to return to a trigger that will make them want to gamble again. This reason is why gambling addictions can sometimes be worse than other addictions such as alcohol. Alcohol runs out and liquor stores are not always open. However, there is always a casino open making it difficult for an addict to control his or her addiction. Gambling addicts always have somewhere to turn: casinos.
Wait times for addiction services
The health care system are known for their long wait times. People are needing access to healthcare all over the world and there are just not enough healthcare providers to help. This leads to increased wait times and wait list for individuals to get the help they need. This is especially true for countries with universal health insurance where certain services may be restricted to the general public due to high demands. These wait lists can be detrimental to clients that are in need of addiction services. They can also negatively impact the outcome of the treatment when the client does receive the help they need. Studies have shown that individuals who are placed on waiting list for addiction services are more than likely to drop out before they treated or not get all they should have out of the treatment itself. Therefore, waiting lists negatively impact patients who are needing addiction services (Pascoe, 2013). Individuals who suffer from addiction problems need help the moment when the need help, especially gambling addicts. They cannot afford to be placed on waiting lists in order to receive the help they need.
Placing addiction services inside casinos could dramatically help this statistic.
Increase of casinos and other gambling outlets has made it dramatically more difficult for an addict to deal with their triggers. Support groups are not always available, however, casinos are. Placing addictive centers inside twenty-four hour casinos gives an addict twenty-four hour support.
Studies have suggested that gamblers need to express one self and enrich social relationships in order to kick a gambling addiction. Addiction centers are wonderful places for individuals with addictions to enrich social relationships. This is due to the fact that these individuals understand and can relate to what the other one is going through. They don’t have to feel guilty about talking about their addictions or the things they have done at the height of their addictions. It will also help them with their social skills to reenter society as a nongambler and give them places to turn in case of triggers. It also gives them people to meet and talk to who they can also turn to in case of a trigger.
Increase and growth of the gambling world
Several years ago, only a handful of states allowed casinos and lotteries. These days more and more state governments have legalized gambling. This means more and more casinos are opening across the country. This has resulted in billions of dollars spent each year in the gambling industry. The more access individuals have to casinos, the more they are going to gamble. Furthermore, not only the number of casinos has increased by the size of casinos have increased as well. This has led to more casinos being built with multiple bars inside of
Research has shown that there may be a link between alcohol and drug consumption and gambling. The more an individual consumes drugs and alcohol, the more they will gamble. In a recent study, it was found that problem gamblers drank alcohol at least once weekly compared to noninteractive gamblers. A higher proportion of problem gamblers were also smokers while noninteractive gamblers were not. Lastly, a higher percentage of problem gamblers reported using illegal drugs in the past 12 months than noninteractive gamblers (Gainsbury, 2014, p. 776).
In the United States, the first casino opened in 1931. Today, there are over 1,500 casinos across the country that generate billion and billions of dollars. However, it wasn’t like that until recently. Approximately 20 years ago, only six states offered legal land or riverboat gambling. Today, there are casinos in 22 states that all offer legalized gambling. There are also 24 other states that have Native American casinos. The development of casinos across the country is continually growing over the past decade. Ten states actually made casinos legal in the past five years (Rodriquez, 2012). The popularity and increase of casinos is growing exponentially throughout the country.
Nevada remains the nation’s top gambling spot. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Nevada has a 5.7 percent increase in casino revenue. Furthermore, Las Vegas visitor rate is growing each year. In 2012, Nevada reached its all-time high visitor record of 39 million visitors. Las Vegas is not the only gambling hot spot in Nevada. It also houses Reno, Tahoe, and the Boulder Strip. Due to the booming economy in Nevada, especially Las Vegas, it is no surprise that other states want to follow in their footsteps. Other states have accomplished this by increasing its entertainment industries and adding casinos (Rodriquez, 2012).
States are always looking for additional revenue sources and gaming just happens to offer the solution. Due to the economic conditions of this country, States are doing whatever they can in order to increase their economic standing. Casinos have help some states increase their revenue. More conservative states, however, do not feel that adding addicting gambling to their state is the solution. For example, Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire has been known to dismiss anything that comes to him that has to do with casinos or gambling. Other states believe they will become too dependent on casino tax revenue. Whatever the reason, some states just object to the idea of legalizing gambling (Rodriquez, 2012).
Casinos and gambling are not necessarily the root of all evil. Just like liquor store or pharmacies are not bad either. However, these places should use some of their profits in order to help the ones that, in some opinion, they are taking advantage of. It is not mystery that a casino or a liquor store is going to make the most money off of an alcoholic or gambling addict. Some gambling addicts have given their life savings to one single casino. Casinos should use part of these profits to set up addiction centers to help these individuals.
Casinos are not going to go bankrupt if all gambling addicts stop gambling. There are ten times more individuals who are not addicted to gambling who gamble for the sport of it. These are individuals who casually gamble and do it for the fun of it, not for the need of it. Casinos should be financially able to set up addiction centers to help these individuals instead of taking their money and harming them even more.
Development of the Internet and technology
The growth of the Internet and technology has made gambling an even harder addiction to try to beat. There are constantly more and more gambling games and devices developed on a daily basis. Giving an addict even more games and situations they can become addicted to. Technological advancements have changed the gambling world extremely. It also makes gambling more available and easier for an addict to gamble. It has also given individuals the ability to multitask when it comes to gambling. Going to the casino takes time and energy, however, getting go the Internet in your own home is almost effortless.
The Internet is one of the fastest growing creations that has ever been developed. When it comes to gambling, the Internet has done miraculous things. It not only has allowed individuals to gamble from the privacy of their own home, but it has actually made it possible for an individual to multi task while gambling. With land-side gambling, an individual can sit at one poker table and play one hand or one tournament at a time. With online gambling, the number of hands or tournaments an individual can play is endless. This can make it that much easier for an individual to win or lose money.
Internet gambling is also the easiest form of gambling to hide from friends and family members. It has been found that Internet gambling is the least common type of gambling, however, those who gamble online are more likely to develop problematic gambling habits (Gluck, 2014). This is probably due to the simplicity and ease of it. It is really easy to gamble a lot of money in a short amount of time and having no one find out about it.
Electronic gaming machines
Electronic gaming machines have been known to be a main concern for problem gamblers. Eighty percent of individuals with gambling problems have reported that electronic gaming machines are they main source of their problems. The introduction of these new gambling devices has changed the face of traditional gambling today, making gambling even more addictive than it was in the past (Gainsbury, 2014, p. 772). This could be due to the simplicity of the game or the quickness of the game. Either way, it is a really easy and fast way for people to lose all of their money. On the other hand, it can also be a really easy and fast way to double or even triple their money. This is what makes these machines so addictive to the pathological gambler. The thrill of being able to win large amounts of money within a matter of seconds. Other reasons why these games may be so addictive is due to the availability, easy access and the ability to gamble for hours without be interrupted. These machines are not like traditional gambling where an individual had to wait hours to gamble. In a recent study, the use of electronic gambling machines correlated with high gambling problem severity (p. 776).
Addictions centers would definitely help when it comes to the development of these types of games. The main reason while addiction centers would help would be because it would give an addict a place to go once they have gambled all of their money. An addict is not going to stop if they keep winning, however, they need some where to go after they lost all of their money. This is due to one reason: depression.
Addicts are much more likely to have problems with depression than the average person. This depression can be onset by several things and losing all their money is definitely one of those things. An addiction center can help with this. It can give the addict a place to go to talk about what just happened and to help them internalize it. Depression will only lead to more negative consequences. That person may go out and try to find more money only to go back to the casino the next day. Nothing can help what is already done but preventive measures can be made in order to help the behavior from repeating.
Several studies try to declare that Internet and online gambling is the root of all evil when it comes to gambling addictions. This might not be the case. A recent study has shown that the majority of gambling addicts develop their addictions in the real world and then migrate to Internet gambling. The physical presence of just being inside a casino is enough to fulfill some addiction needs. Gambling addicts feel like being in a casino is enchanting with the noise, the lights and the sight of people winning (Chappell, 2014).
This being the case, it is in everyone’s best interest to incorporate addiction centers into casinos to stop the addiction before it either starts or grows out of control. If someone can receive help before they turn to Internet gambling the better. Internet gambling is dangerous because one can embark on Internet gambling in the comfort of their own home without hardly anyone knowing they are doing anything. One person could go through their whole life savings in the click of a button without any of their loved ones knowing that they are participating in gambling. This is where gambling addictions become dangerous. It is important that society takes every step possible to help individuals before it gets this far. Also, individuals may not return to the casinos after they have become addicted to Internet gambling. Gambling online may be enough for that one person and they do not need land-side gambling anymore. Therefore, incorporating addiction centers into casinos now may help current regular gamblers before they turn into high addictive gamblers.
Gambling is a serious problem. Pathological gamblers need 24 hours support when it comes to their addiction. Triggers can come up at any time and it is important for individuals with gambling addictions to have constant access to support. This is mainly due to the fact that casinos are always open. For an alcoholic, it is easy for them to stay out of a bar or away from things that may tempt them to drink. It is a similar situation for a drug addict. For a gambler, on the other hand, it is a little bit more difficult for them to stay away from there triggers because their triggers are everywhere.
There are several ways to implement the addition of addiction centers in casinos. First, a casino would need to designate one area or room in the casino for the addiction center. This room would need to be a room with easy access and a room that is outside the gaming rooms. Second, the casino would need to hire several designated sponsors to operate the addiction center 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The addiction center needs to be open around the clock just like the casino is open around the clock. These sponsors do not need to be state registered or licensed practitioners, as gambling anonymous groups and other support groups leaders are not licensed professions. They are generally previous addicts who have already gone through the steps of addictions. These individuals are usually better able to help individuals facing current addiction issues. After these steps are completed, the addiction center is ready to open its doors. The addiction center just needs to be readily available for any and all addicts are all times of the day. This should not be an issue because casinos are always open.
Placing support groups and addiction counseling inside casinos is good for several reasons. First of all, it is one place that gambling addict’s turn to when they are having problems. Secondly, casinos are always open. This gives addicts 24 hour access to support that they need. Lastly, it gives them a place to turn to if they realize they are starting to spin out of control. It is an outlet inside of their addiction that can help them turn things around before they lose any more of their money. Placing addition help groups and counseling inside casinos does not necessarily hurt the casinos. Casinos are always going to make money; they don’t need to bankrupt people who need help. Casinos will still make huge profits off of non-addict gambling and purchases.
Jabr, F. (2013). Gambling on the brain. Scientific American, 309(5).
Gainsbury, S. (2014). The prevalence and determinants of problem gambling in Australia: assessing the impact of interactive gambling and new technologies. Psychology of Addictive Behavior, 28(3), 769-779.
Gluck, S. (2014). Types of gambling that can lead to addictions. America’s Mental Health Channel. Retrieved from http://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/gambling-addiction/most-addictive-type-of-gambling/
Reith, G. & Dobbie, F. (2012) Lost in the game: narratives of addiction and identity in recovery from problem gambling. Addiction Research and Theory, 20(6), 511-521.
Rodriquez, J. (2012). A look at casino growth in the United States. Card Player. Retrived from http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/13189-a-look-at-casino-growth-in-the-united-states