Introduction to Problem Gambling
While most people can gamble as a form of entertainment and not suffer any ill effects from doing so, there are others who struggle with problem gambling, or gambling addiction. When gambling becomes a problem for an individual, and possibly for their family members, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Examples of those with gambling problems are those who gamble with money they do not have, or is needed to pay bills, and those who gamble recklessly because they are depressed. Fortunately help for those with gambling addictions is readily available to players around the world.
Problem Gambling in Canada and Getting Help
Statistics have shown that most Canadians can gamble without it leading to a gambling problem. Ontario statistics show that an estimated 1.2% (from a 2012 study) and 3.4% (from a 2005 study) of those living in Ontario have been affected by problem gambling ranging from moderate to severe problems. Many of those who have been affected are high school students, and many are also affected by other mental health issues or substance abuse.
In Canada, there are a large number of resources available to help those with gambling problems. Resources on a national level include help from Gamblers Anonymous Ontario, and Kids Help Phone that offers toll-free bilingual counseling, referrals and help via the Internet for underage gamblers. Other resources include the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Each province also offers other forms of help for those who suffer from compulsive gambling. Contact details for a large number of organisations can be found on www.problemgambling.ca. The website is available in both English and French. The www.canadasafetycouncil.org site also provides a number of problem gambling resources, information, and contact details of a number of confidential organisations that area available 24 hours a day.
Problem Gambling in Australia and Getting Help
A large percentage of the Australian population, estimated at approximately 70%, engage in gambling in one form or another throughout the year. According to an Australian government site, a large number of Australians suffer from problem gambling with an estimated 1 in 6 players showing signs of gambling addiction. Statistics have shown that those who suffer from problem gambling in Australia are more likely to have had unhappy marriages, are four times as likely to have problems with alcohol, and are also four times more likely to smoke on a daily basis than those gamblers without gambling problems. Statistics also show that women are more easily addicted to poker machines than men are, although men are more likely to develop gambling problems in other areas.
Although only about 15% of problem gamblers seek help in Australia, there are a large number of resources available throughout the country. Each state or territory in Australia offers gambling help. The websites for each are listed on www.problemgambling.gov.au/resources/. There is also a 24-hour confidential Problem Gambling Helpline available 24 hours a day on 1800 858 858. Those who wish to try and tackle the problem online can do so on www.gamblinghelponline.org.au.
Problem Gambling in New Zealand and Getting Help
Approximately 80% of adults in New Zealand partake in gambling throughout the year. Most of those who gamble do so in games that are considered low risk as far as problem gambling is concerned, such as playing the Lotto. It is estimated that there are between 0.3% and 1.8% of adults who struggle with gambling addictions at any given time. Of those who play games that come with a higher risk of gambling addictions, about one in five adults are negatively affected by gambling problems. Those who suffer from serious gambling problems are likely to affect up to about 17 other people in one way or another.
There are many resources available for problem gamblers in New Zealand. The Gambling Helpline, found at www.gamblinghelpline.co.nz offers a number of resources from a toll-free helpline on 0800 654 655 to an anonymous texting service, Text 4 Help, on 8006. Sending text messages to this number is free, and those who use the service will receive a personalised response from the organisation’s counsellors. The website provides information about gambling in New Zealand and has a Gambling Helpline Forum. The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand can be found on www.pgf.nz. The organisation can be called confidentially and toll-free on 0800 664 262.